It appears that Utah will have 10 days off from their final regular season game against USC until the start of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
The Pac-12 announced that makeup games against Arizona State and Oregon State would all take place in the month of February, leaving that first week of March still open before the tournament is set to start on March 10.
Utah will face Arizona State in a home-and-home situation early in February, with the Utes playing in Tempe on February 2 before hosting the Sun Devils on February 7, or better known as Super Bowl Sunday.
The first game between the Utes and Sun Devils is a makeup from their game on Dec. 22, which was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within the Utes program. The second game was pushed back a day since Utah is currently scheduled to play Arizona on February 4.
The Utes will then face Oregon State on February 22, four days after they face the Beavers in Corvallis. The original matchup was set for January 6 but was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within the Oregon State program.
While it’s nice that Utah will have the week first of March free — or for more potential makeup games moving forward — but the makeup games could pose an issue regarding the number of games over a certain amount of days.
Earlier in the season Utah played four games over a span of eight days, going 1-3 in those games and blowing halftime leads in each loss. After the loss, a brutal one to Cal in which the Utes led by 15 points, head coach Larry Krystkowiak alluded to the fact that the schedule could’ve played an issue in those losses.
“I’m not here to make excuses, but I don’t know if you guys. … This is something that’s a little bit troubling and I’m trying to protect our team, not make an excuse, but we just played four games in a week,” Krystkowiak said following their lost to Cal on Saturday night. “That doesn’t happen very often in college basketball. And if there were a few shots that came up short or maybe we didn’t quite have it, I’d like to maybe chalk it up to just having a hell of a challenge ahead of us.”
With the new schedule, the Utes will play four games (Colorado, Arizona State, Arizona and Arizona State) over a 9-day period, all of which will be in different cities. That will then be followed up with three games (Oregon State, Oregon, Oregon State) over a five-day period, again all of which will be in different cities.
The good news is that the Utes have finalized their schedule for the remainder of the season — but the flip side is that there will be some brutal stretches in there that they must navigate if they want to contend later on.
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