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Utah Preview-Capsule

October 26, 2018

Utah

Last season: 23-12, finished as NIT runner-up.

Nickname: Utes

Coach: Larry Krystkowiak

Conference: Pac-12

Who’s gone: Point guard Justin Bibbins, forward David Collette, forward Tyler Rawson, guard /forward Gabe Beeler, forward Chris Seeley, center Jakub Jokl, guard Kolbe Caldwell.

Who’s back: Senior guard Sedrick Barefield is the only full-time starter back from last season. Barefield averaged 12.0 points per game a year ago and shot 35.4 percent from 3-point range and could take on an increased scoring load this season. Senior guard Parker Van Dyke made 12 starts last season and averaged 4.0 points in 18.6 minutes per game. Sophomore forward Donnie Tillman will have a chance to seize a larger role in the frontcourt. Tillman averaged 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds off the bench as a rookie. Junior center Jayce Johnson could also have a bigger role after averaging 5.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 16.8 minutes a year ago.

Who’s new: Guard Charles Jones, Jr. headlines a talented crop of newcomers. Jones was a two-time NJCAA All-American at the College of Southern Idaho, where he amassed 1,194 points in two seasons. He will give Utah’s backcourt an added scoring and ball-handling punch alongside Barefield. Senior center Novak Topalovic joins the Utes as a graduate transfer from Idaho State. Topalovic averaged 10.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in 30 games for the Bengals a year ago. Among the incoming freshman, forwards Both Gach, Riley Battin, and Timmy Allen could make immediate contributions.

The Skinny: Utah is brimming with potential but short on experience heading into Larry Krystkowiak’s eighth season at the helm. The Utes signed one of their most talented freshman classes ever during the offseason. Still, the team lost three of its top four scorers from a year ago and returns just one full-time starter.

Expectations: Utah was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. The Utes have a history of exceeding preseason expectations, but a tough schedule combined with inexperience may make it a tougher climb in 2018-19.

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