SALT LAKE CITY — Coming off its NIT Championship game appearance, the Runnin’ Utes are projected to finish the season eighth in the Pac-12 for the 2018-19 season, according to a poll released Thursday at the conference’s annual media day for basketball.
Utah claimed 122 votes in the poll, placing them short of Colorado for the seventh spot with 161 votes. The Utes were picked to finish seventh in the 2017-18 season but tied for third place to claim a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Following a 23-12 season, Utah narrowly missed out on an NCAA Tournament appearance but instead claimed an at-large bid in the NIT, where they eventually fell to Penn State in the championship game.
Although picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference standings this season, Utah has either tied or exceeded expectations in the last seven seasons.
Oregon, who has been the conference favorite two of the last three seasons, was tabbed to finish first in the Pac-12 with 288 points. The Dana Altman-led Ducks earned 16 of the possible 25 first-place votes. UCLA, which finished second in voting with 264 votes earned six first-place votes. Washington (two) at third place and Arizona (one) at fourth place each got first-place mentions.
The remaining standings are as follows: USC (203), Arizona State (165), Colorado (161), Utah (122), Stanford (109), Oregon State (102), California (45) and Washington State (37).
Utah opens up the season with its annual Night with the Runnin’ Utes on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Huntsman Center. The Utes host the College of Idaho on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. at the Huntsman Center in an exhibition game.