4. Utah Utes (11-8, 5-2 Pac-12) LW: 8
You just can’t count Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak out.
Following a 6-6 start, the Utes are rolling, having won four straight after sweeping Stanford and California on the road. Though there is a lot of basketball to be played, the Utes hold a share of second place in the Pac-12 standings.
Prior to the season, this was expected to be a down year in Salt Lake City. Krystkowiak lost four key players from a group that reached the championship game of the NIT and had a lot of questions about his roster outside of Sedrick Barefield.
The senior guard has been phenomenal (16.2 points per game, 42 percent from 3) and continued to dominate last week, averaging 19.5 points while connecting on nine triples. But it’s been a balanced effort propelling Utah, primarily coming from beyond the perimeter.
In addition to Barefield’s four, sophomore forward Donnie Tillman and senior guard Parker Van Dyke knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. To sink Stanford, five Utes recorded at least nine points and took advantage of 64 percent shooting from 3.
At Cal, the Utes buried 13 triples as unit, led by five from Barefield. But the spotlight was stolen by freshmen forwards Both Gach and Timmy Allen. The duo combined for 35 points in a 82-64 win.
Hosting Oregon and Oregon State this week, Utah has a chance to extend its winning streak to six games and put additional pressure on Washington in the Pac-12 race.