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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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After an L.A. sweep, Utah prepares for intermountain battle with CU

After+an+L.A.+sweep%2C+Utah+prepares+for+intermountain+battle+with+CU

UTAH VS UNLV BU-2

When the final buzzer sounded in No. 9 Utah’s 32-point blowout of UCLA, it finished off a Los Angeles sweep by beating USC and the Bruins in consecutive games.

Coming out on top against the two Pac-12 foes is an accomplishment in itself, but the fact that some current Utes, such as Brandon Taylor and Dakarai Tucker, hail from the City of Angels, it makes the victories mean that much more.

“I take it a little bit more edgy,” Taylor said when asked about playing against the two schools. “I think for the rest of us L.A. guys on the team, we take a lot to it.”

Growing up just miles away from both USC and UCLA’s campuses, Taylor played high school at Pacific Hills, where he was never recruited by either the Trojans or Bruins. Despite holding averages of 19.8 points and 7.5 assists his senior season in high school, Taylor could not garner the attention of the two schools. After these last two games, the Utah guard has shown just what his home city schools are missing out on.

Tucker was in a much similar situation as Taylor – unable to spark the interest of either LA school. With Tucker, however, there is no sense of a grudge or edge when squaring off against the two schools.

“To me, it’s just another game,” Tucker said. “They’re not really a big rival like that … I don’t have anything against them.”

Speaking of rivals, Utah’s new Pac-12 rival, Colorado, is next on the slate. The Utes and Buffaloes don’t have a long recent history, but games between the two schools are getting more and more heated. On the gridiron Colorado kept Utah out of the Pac-12 Championship Game a few years back and the two programs aren’t very cordial on the soccer pitch.

There has yet to be an overly intense rivalry matchup between Utah and Colorado on the hardwood, but Tucker feels as if there is sense of rivalry heading into the Utes game with the Buffaloes in the Huntsman Center on Wednesday evening.

“Some sort of way, because we both are travel partners and all,” Tucker said of the rivalry.

Taylor has similar feelings towards Colorado.

“You know, there’s USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State, so Utah-Colorado, it’s a bit of a rivalry,” he said.

As the Runnin’ Utes prepare for their mountain counterparts, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak can’t help but notice the similarities between the two squads.

“Coach Boyle (Colorado head coach) stresses defense and rebounding,” he said. “Would I love to have the leading scorer in the conference? Sure, that’d be nice, but the culture of the team is everyone plays defense and gets held accountable for their mistakes.”

Up until this point in the season, Krystkowiak and the Utes have a plethora of leading scorers, and the Utah head coach wouldn’t have it any other way.

“One game to the next, not knowing who the top scorer is going to be, that can be a weapon offensively. If you can’t find the head of the snake how do you kill it?” Krystkowiak said.

Fortunately for Utah, it may have found the head of the Colorado snake before even stepping onto the court. Buffalo forward Josh Scott leads the team in rebounding and is second in scoring, but has been recently hampered by injury. Scott has sat out Colorado’s previous two games, but is looking to make a comeback in Salt Lake City.

According to tweet by ESPN analyst Jeff Goodman, Scott looks like he will play tonight, but for Krystkowiak and company that has been the plan all along.

“We have no choice but to prepare like he’s playing,” Krystkowiak said. “He’s one of the best big men in the conference.”

Tip-off between Utah and Colorado is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT.

 

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