Majerus Disregarding Preseason Poll

The reaction of men?s basketball coach Rick Majerus to the selection of his Utes as No. 2 in the preseason Mountain West Conference polls was as cyclical as snow along the Wasatch Front.

So what?

Except this year, unlike the previous seven years, the Utes do not occupy the top preseason ranking in the poll. The Wyoming Cowboys, who shared a piece of the three way MWC regular season championship last season, commandingly own the prestige.

But Majerus still does not merit the rankings. ?I never gave it much thought when we were picked high, so I?m not going to give it much when we?re not,? Majerus said. ?Sometimes they pick us so high because of what we?ve accomplished in the past and not because of what we might accomplish.?

But Wyoming coach Steve McClain doesn?t discredit the U. ?For seven years in a row, Utah was picked to win the league. Does [the fact the U is picked No. 2 this year] mean they won?t win it? No,? he said. ?But does it mean we put ourselves in a position to be thought of [as a first place team]? Yes, and that is a step for us.?

The season?s first practice for Majerus? Utes will take place Saturday, but the coach will be absent. Majerus is in his native state getting inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame?Majerus was an assistant at Marquette from 1971 to 1983, head coach at Marquette from 1983 to 1986 and was an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks in t in 1986-7.

Majerus?s 2001-02 Utes have nine players returning from a team that received a postseason berth into the National Invitational Tournament. However, a string of six straight Utah appearances in the NCAA Tournament was snapped in 2000-01. Majerus added five players to that team: 6?8?? F/C Cameron Goettsche, 6?11?? C Chris Jackson, 6?3?? guard Martin Osimani, 6?4?? guard Eric Osmundson and 6?10?? Portland transfer Tim Frost, an All West Coast Conference selection as a sophomore who must sit out the year due to NCAA transfer rules.

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