clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Utah Utes Game Preview and How to Watch

Can Washington finally put forth a quality effort in the conference opener?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 23 Washington at Utah Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 12/3/20

Tip-Off Time: 3:00 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: KJR 950/KVI 570


Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Betting line: Washington +8

Utah Utes 2019-20 (last season) Statistics:

Record: 16-15 (7-11)

Points For per Game: 70.9 ppg (154th)

Points Against per Game: 70.3 ppg (193rd)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 106.3 (100th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 100.8 (135th)

Strength of Schedule: 39th

Utah Key Players (stats from last season):

F- Timmy Allen, Jr. 6’6, 204: 17.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 44.1% FG, 21.1% 3pt, 72.2% FT

If Allen could reliably hit an outside shot he would be a potential All-American. As it is he’s still a very good scorer who plays more bully ball than you would expect for someone at his size. Against a Husky team that has been very soft in the middle through 2 games, Allen could have a monster outing.

G- Rylan Jones, So. 6’0, 175: 9.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.5 apg, 40.0% FG, 38.6% 3pt, 86.3% FT

Jones was one of the more underrated freshmen in the conference last season as a capable passer and a great shooter from the perimeter. He’s certainly susceptible to some turnovers though. Last year against Washington he went 0/8 from 3-pt range but 9/10 from the line and dished out 9 assists.

F- Riley Battin, Jr. 6’9, 234: 7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 41.8% FG, 33.0% 3pt, 72.0% FT

Battin is a solid stretch 4 option for Utah who’s a better ball handler than you’d expect for someone who’s his height. He’s another player who could really cause some issues for the Huskies if they set him up at the free throw line.

F- Mikael Jantunen, So. 6’8, 220: 6.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 66.1% FG, 31.3% 3pt, 73.3% FT

Welcome to part III of the power forward who’s capable of hitting that free throw line jumper against the zone! He was a phenomenal cutter for Utah last year so he may be more likely to camp out near the baseline and wait for the UW center to take a step forward before sneaking behind him.

C- Branden Carlson, So. 7’0, 218: 7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 54.9% FG, 23.1% 3pt, 62.2% FT

Carlson took fewer than 0.5 3-pointers per game last season so that 3-pt% isn’t indicative of something he did very often. His defensive rebounding rate is way lower than you would hope for from a 7-footer but that might not matter given UW’s rebounding prowess or lack thereof.

G- Jaxon Brenchley, So. 6’5, 190: 4.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.8 apg, 35.3% FG, 36.4% 3pt, 70.0% FT

Almost 75% of Brenchley’s shots last year came behind the 3-pt arc so he is almost always going to be the least impactful offensive player for Utah whenever he’s on the floor. He also didn’t get many steals or blocks so it’s unclear exactly where he provides a ton of value besides not being a ball stopper.

G- Alfonso Plummer, Sr. 6’1, 175: 8.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.4 apg, 46.7% FG, 42.0% 3pt, 75.0% FT

Plummer didn’t play all that many minutes last year but when he did he had a “shooters gotta shoot” mindset. He had the highest % of shots taken while on the floor so when he’s in the game the Huskies have to know he has an extremely quick trigger and is a deadly outside shooter.

The Outlook

This will be the season debut for Utah who had their first few games cancelled following 9 of their players contracting COVID-19 over the last several weeks. There’s definitely a chance that the Utes look rusty after those players were unable to do much of anything while in quarantine during that time. But if Washington plays like it did in its first few games then it isn’t going to matter.

Utah last year struggled but were also incredibly young. They ranked 351st nationally in experience and had only 1 upperclassman on the team. Only one of those players is gone (Both Gach transferred) so the continuity should be there even with the disruption to practice given it’s almost the exact same team as last year.

Utah’s offensive system loves to stretch the floor with 4 shooters at a time and then get open looks near the cup on a variety of cuts behind the defense. They still have a lot of length outside of starting point guard Rylan Jones as the rotation should feature at least 6 players who are 6’6 or taller. Against a Washington team that looks to be among the most abysmal rebounders in the country there’s no reason to think they won’t be able to clean up on both the offensive and defensive glass.

When it comes to Washington’s offense there are two sides. Washington cannot be as bad as they were in their first 2 games over the entire season. The Huskies are shooting 18% from 3-point range. The worst team in the country last year shot 24.8%. Washington has secured only 13.5% of offensive rebounds. The worst team in the country last year recovered 14.2% and the third worst was 19.9%. I feel confident saying the Huskies will not have literally the worst offense in the entire country.

But there’s been no indication that this is going to be anything other than a bad offense until they have a breakout and win a game. Against a conference opponent in the thin air who should end up being pretty good I certainly don’t love the Dawgs’ chances.


Washington Huskies- 54, Utah Utes- 72


Keep up with the game in the comments below. You can also follow me for all your UW Men’s Basketball News and Game Updates @UWDP_maxvroom