#110 Utah Utes: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Unlike the last two seasons when the Utah Utes finished dead last in my rankings, this year they move up one whole spot.  Woohoo!!!! (confetti falls from the rafters.)

UTAH UTES
Last season: 10th, 5-13 in Pac-12, 15-18 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 12th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Dallin Bachynski (Jr)/Jeremy Olsen (So)/Marko Kovacevic (Jr)
F: Jordan Loveridge (So)/Renan Lenz (Sr)
G/F: Dakari Tucker (So)/Princeton Onwas (Jr)/Kenneth Ogbe (Fr)
SG: Delon Wright (Jr)/Parker Van Dyke (Fr)/Ahmad Fields (Fr)
PG: Brandon Taylor (So)/

Gone: SG-Jarred DuBois, C-Jason Washburn, G/F-Cedric Martin, PG-Justin Seymour (transfer-Murray State), PG-Glen Dean (transfer-Idaho), SG-Aaron Dotson (transfer)

2013-2014 Outlook:
After finishing with their worst record in school history two years ago, the Utah Utes made some progress last season but still weren’t close to being a factor in their second season as members of the Pac-12 Conference.  With four starters gone from a year ago and several new faces once again entering the fold, there figures to be more struggle this season.

If there was a bright spot in last season, it was the play of freshman Jordan Loveridge.  The 6-6 forward finished second on the team in scoring and led the Utes in rebounding.  Though a bit undersized to play the power forward position which he ultimately does for Utah, his inside/outside ability makes him a tough matchup for opposing defenses.

The transfer of Glen Dean opens up the starting point guard spot for Brandon Taylor who played significant minutes as a freshman.  He must increase his scoring production but is also the only true point guard on the roster so has to take control of orchestrating the offense.

Minutes are for the taking on the wing with Jarred Dubois and Cedric Martin graduating.  Junior college transfer Delon Wright, the younger brother of the NBA’s Dorell Wright, figures to see heavy minutes from the start of the season.  Sophomore Dakari Tucker should get more playing time with JUCO transfer Princeton Onwas competing for minutes off the bench with freshmen Kenneth Ogbe, Parker Van Dyke, and Ahmad Fields.  Somebody in that bunch needs to emerge as a reliable scoring option to replace DuBois’ offensive ability, specifically from three-point land.

The frontcourt is a concern as well with seven-footer Dallon Bachynski in line to start at center.  He provides size and physicality in the middle and somewhat competent as an offensive option but still unproven.  After that, it is slim pickings for head coach Larry Krystowiak.  Jeremy Olsen and Renan Lenz played spot minutes a year ago while a third junior college transfer, Marko Kovacevic will try to work his way into the rotation as well.

Player to Watch: Jordan Loveridge
Until someone proves otherwise, Loveridge is the first, second, and third option for Utah this season.  Defenses will be keying in on stopping Loveridge, forcing other Utes to beat them which will make it even more challenging for the combo forward to build off of his solid freshman campaign.

Key Non-Conference Games:
TBD

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the college basketball and college basketball material at David_Kmiecik and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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