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SALT LAKE CITY — It is a good thing that almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
The Runnin' Utes captured their first home Pac-12 win Saturday despite almost blowing a 22-point lead in the second half against Colorado.
Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak met with the media Monday during his weekly press conference to talk about the win and look ahead to the Utes road trip against Oregon State and Oregon.
Here are five takeaways from the press conference:
Dallin is back
Utah center Dallin Bachynski is back with the team after taking a break from basketball.
"He practiced with us Thursday and Friday and he is very much back with us. I think he had a good week of some some soul searching, stepped away from some of our competition in practice and missed the Stanford game. Dallin is as nice of a kid as there is and he wants the right thing. We just saw a different version of him there for a little while. He was able to sort out some personal things. What struck me when meeting with him Thursday morning was his comment that he didn't realize his teammates cared that much about him. That meant the world to me because he was kind of on the outside looking in and I don't think Dallin knew everyone was in his corner and wanted him to do well. That was pretty uplifting for him to know that those guys were rallying behind him. We need his energy and size, and he is as athletic as anyone on our team. Now that he has gotten some things straightened out off the court, I think his better days are ahead with half our league games in front of us."
Jeremy Olsen will get more minutes
After scoring 12 points in only 14 minutes for the Utes against Colorado, it looks like Jeremy Olsen will start to see more playing time.
"He is crafty, he does a nice job of sealing, and getting guys on his back. He makes use of his left and right hand really well. He's not going to win any competitions in terms of athletic ability. But he's kind of a throwback. I feel his is our best back-to-the-basket post-up player. I'm really excited that he is a freshman and we're going to have him around for a while. [Charles Stephenson], our strength coach, has taken it upon himself as a personal challenge. Jeremy has been working hard in the weight room, working on his explosiveness and strength and flexibility. I'm a firm believer that `Rock' (Stephenson) can fix that. You put people in a place to address weakness. I think over the three years you will see his body transform, and potentially you're looking at a pretty special post player."
Look ahead to Oregon State and Oregon
On Oregon State: "There are some similarities in terms of OSU and our team in that we have lost a lot of close games. I don't think you could find another team in our league like us that has been in so many games that come right down to the wire. Listening to [head coach] Craig Robinson talk, it's a little thing here or there that makes a difference. We're not foolish enough to look at their record. They are as talented and athletic as anyone in our league and they're as big as anyone in league. They have guys at the three-spot who are 6-8 or 6-9 and really long and athletic. They throw you a lot of different looks defensively...full-court stuff, half-court, 1-3-1 trap, 2-3 zone... and they try to take advantage of their length and athletic ability. They stir up some turnovers. Offensively they've got a lot of weapons. If you look at their stats on the year, they've got five guys averaging double figures. They have a lot of versatility and they do a good job. I think there's always going to be a couple of teams in every league who are better than their record and a couple teams who aren't as good as their record. Oregon State is one of those teams. They have a lot of firepower and it's going to be a heck of a challenge."
On Oregon: "I think what they've done is a testament to [head coach] Dana Altman. I think it has been a surprise. It was one of those teams early on that a lot of the experts thought would be in the middle of the pack at best. They've got some young guards in the backcourt that are freshmen, but they have some veteran leadership at the three, four and five spots. They've played a tough schedule and competed really well. They ran into a couple of teams in the Bay Area last weekend. But to get a top 10 ranking in the country says a lot for what they're doing. I think they have had an injury to Dominic Artis. I don't know what his situation is for our game, but whenever you remove point guard from your team...I think that was evident against Cal and Stanford...it hurts as much as anything. In my mind Oregon is the toughest place to play in terms of environment. That's based on senior night last year for me, I'm not sure anyone was going to go into that building and beat that team the way that set itself up. We certainly laid an egg to end the season. We started off at Colorado with the rough game, we ended it at Eugene with a tough game. So we will have to be at the top of our game to be competitive there. But first and foremost it's the Beavers."
Will Olsen and Loveridge play on the court together?
"Jeremy is going to earn more minutes, he already has. We got in a situation late in the game where Colorado's biggest guy on the floor at the end of the game was 6-7. And I wanted [Jason] Washburn's experience on the floor, but that put us in a tough way defensively. In hindsight maybe we shouldn't have been thinking about our defense, we should have thought about our offense and what got us there. The flip side to that is that if we have two bigger guys in they have to guard us in the post, and I thought they struggled doing that early. But they changed their offensive scheme going down to the wire. We knew that Dinwiddie and Booker would be coming at us with penetration and we wanted to have some smaller guys on the floor. I think that in a traditional game, certainly against our next two opponents that don't play small, it's going to bode well for Jeremy to be out on the floor."
Addressing being on the road Tuesday through Saturday
"We're taking a full-time tutor with us from our academic office. It is a bit of a challenge. We could have chartered again and come back between games and tried the same scenario [as the Washington trip] but we booked it in advance. As long as we have the academic side squared away, which we do, I think our team is in need of getting out together for four or five days and spending time together in a hotel. We've been really good. Even our last home game, we spent the night at the Marriott before the Friday night before the Colorado game. We have a meal, watch film, and treat it like a game on the road. We've been pretty good on the road overall as far as the competition and being focused and dialed in. So the timing might be pretty good for us."