Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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.
The Utah Utes came in dead last in our rankings a year ago but move up one whole spot this time around. In their inaugural season in the Pac-12, the Utes won just six total games and the outlook is not any better heading into this season. Second year head coach Larry Krystowiak lost six players to transfer and has 11 players who didn’t see a single minute in a Utah uniform last year.
For the Utah Utes football preview go here
Last season: 11th, 3-15 in Pac-12, 6-25 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 12th
Projected Depth Chart
C: David Foster (Sr)/Dallin Bachynski (So)
PF: Jason Washburn (Sr)/Renan Lenz (Jr)/Jeremy Olsen (Fr)
G/F: Cedric Martin (Sr)/Jordan Loveridge (Fr)/Dakari Tucker (Fr)
SG: Aaron Dotson (Jr)/Jarred DuBois (Sr)
PG: Glen Dean (Jr)/Justin Seymour (Fr)/Brandon Taylor (Fr)
Gone: PG-Josh Watkins, G-Chris Hines (transfer-Drake), SF-Dijon Farr (transfer-Arkansas-Fort Smith), SG-Anthony Odunsi (transfer-Tyler JC), PG-Kareem Storey (transfer-Southern Idaho), Javon Dawson (transfer-Jacksonville), F-George Matthews (transfer-UT-San Antonio)
Of those eleven players who didn’t suit up for the Utes last season, four of them have experience at the Division One level. 7’3 center David Foster is already the program’s all-time leader in blocked shots but missed all of last season with a broken foot. He combined with the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder, Jason Washburn will provide the Utes with plenty of size inside.
On the wing, Cedric Martin is the only returning player from last year’s team. The former JUCO transfer is a consistent outside scorer and capable defender but is certainly not capable of being a go-to scorer. Neither is LSU transfer Aaron Dotson who figures to start at two alongside Martin. Dotson averaged just 6.8 points per game as a sophomore with the Tigers.
Without a main scoring option on the perimeter, the burden will likely fall on the shoulders of Eastern Washington transfer, Glen Dean. The 5’10 point guard was Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2010 and a second-team All-Conference honoree as a sophomore. He is a dangerous outside shooter but will face a major jump in talent moving to the Pac-12.
The bench will feature eight new faces. Loyola Marymount transfer Jason DuBois becomes immediately eligible since he already graduated and is studying to earn his masters. He can light it up from deep as he is a career 37% shooter from downtown. The Utes’ most highly-touted recruit, freshman Jordan Loveridge also figures to be a valuable asset off the bench. His all-around game and versatility might even earn him a starting spot before the season ends. Fellow freshmen Dakari Tucker, Justin Seymour, and Brandon Taylor will all compete for minutes at guard as well.
Up-front, JUCO transfer Renan Lenz is likely to make the biggest impact in a reserve roll. Jeremy Olsen and Dallin Bachynski are both returning from overseas missions and will add more size inside. Bachynski transfers in from Southern Utah where he averaged just 3.6 points and 2.6 boards per game as a freshmen while Olsen redshirted during the 2009-2010 season meaning he hasn’t played in a “real” game in three years.
Their non-conference schedule is weaker than a shot of Apple Puckers so Utah could actually win more games than they did a year ago. With so many new faces though, the Utes figure to be the laughing stock of the Pac-12… which is the laughing stock of the power six conferences. Do the math and that’s why they earn the 110th spot in in our 111 in 111.
Player to Watch: Jordan Loveridge
Starting with the first day of practice, Loveridge will likely be the most talented player on the Ute roster. I would not be at all surprised if he beats out Martin or Dotson for a spot in the starting line-up unless Krystowiak chooses to stick with a more experienced starting five. Whatever the case may be, the 6’6 swingman brings a pretty complete game to Salt Lake City. He can score off the bounce, has a nice looking outside stroke, and the strength and explosiveness to finish at the rim.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/28 at SMU
12/8 at BYU
12/18 vs. SMU
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com 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. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.