Here's a look at Utah basketball's 1st season in the Big 12


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” The University of Utah is preparing for a new frontier when it joins the Big 12 for the 2024-25 academic year.

The Utes got a taste of that new reality Thursday, when the conference released its 2024-25 scheduling matrix.

With the league expanding to 16 teams to include Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado, the conference slate also expands to 20 games in men's basketball (and 18 in women's basketball). Each team will play five teams both home-and-away, five home-only, and five more road-only.

Here's what stood out about the Utes' 2024-25 conference lineup.

Utah men's basketball

  • Home and away: Baylor, BYU, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, West Virginia
  • Home only: Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech
  • Away only: Arizona, UCF, Houston, Iowa State, TCU

What stands out

The biggest news was already known: The Runnin' Utes' rivalry with BYU, which continued mostly uninterrupted during the past decade when the two did not share conference affiliations, is returning to a home-and-away single-season series once again. But unlike the Cougars, who also get home-and-away series with regional foes Arizona and Arizona State, the Utes' compendium is much more of a mixed bag.

Head coach Craig Smith's team will travel to the eastern time zone twice as part of the five-team setup with Cincinnati and West Virginia, the former club of new assistant coach Josh Eilert. They'll also travel-and-host Oklahoma State and Baylor β€” call that one the "Caleb Lohner return game."

Former Pac-12 foes Arizona State and Colorado are only on the home schedule, while a single trip to the desert is the only matchup with Tommy Lloyd and Arizona. Utah will also host Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech β€” all projected to be top-half Big 12 contenders.

Houston and Iowa State are likely the most difficult road-only trips, though little is easy about traveling 2,000 miles-plus to UCF.

Welcome to the toughest college basketball conference in the country, Utah.

Utah Utes head coach Lynne Roberts talks to her team from the bench during the first half of an NCAA women's basketball game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.
Utah Utes head coach Lynne Roberts talks to her team from the bench during the first half of an NCAA women's basketball game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Photo: Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

Utah women's basketball

  • Home and away: Arizona, Arizona State, BYU
  • Home only: UCF, Colorado, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State
  • Away only: Baylor, Cincinnati, Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia

What stands out

Unlike the men's team, Utah women's basketball is much more regionally compact across its 18-game conference schedule with home-and-away matchups set with Arizona, Arizona State and BYU.

Head coach Lynne Roberts' team that returns Gianna Kneepkens, Kennady McQueen and Jenna Johnson will also host Rocky Mountain rival Colorado, UCF, Houston, Oklahoma State and the Kansas schools.

Road trips to Baylor, Iowa State and TCU β€” along with the cross-country flight to West Virginia β€” won't be easy. But a squad that returns four starters from a group that won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament for three consecutive seasons for the first time in program history should be among the top contenders in their new league.

Big 12 scheduling matrix

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