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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Basketball: Runnin’ Utes draw No. 5 seed in South, will face No. 12 SFA



When the Runnin’ Utes walked off of the floor at the MGM Grand Arena following their loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament, they were beaten down, depleted and heartbroken, but not defeated.

Just two days later, those same Utes now have something more to play for. Sitting in head coach Larry Krystkowiak’s basement on Sunday afternoon, Utah eagerly waited to see when their name would be called on CBS’s Selection Sunday Show.

“I was anxious to see where we were going to play and who we were going to play against,” said star Delon Wright.

After two regions had already been released, Utah received the good news it had been waiting for, finally making an appearance in the South region, where it will face off against Stephen F. Austin in Portland on Thursday.

“It’s a great day to be a Ute,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We were sitting down i the basement and everyone’s really excited. It’s been a long process here for four years and its a heck of an opportunity.”

The Utes will be the five-seed in the South, while the Lumberjacks will be the No. 12.

SFA, who compiled a 29-4 record this season, has played the role of spoiler before, upsetting Virginia Commonwealth in last season’s Big Dance, also as a No. 12 seed. But as Krystkowiak admitted, he doesn’t know much about the current Lumberjacks, at least not yet.

“[SFA] is a good team,” he said. “They’ve only lost four games all year so its a high-powered team.”

Krystkowiak went on to mention how the “research begins now,” and the players were just excited to continue their season after a disappointing early exit from the conference tournament over the weekend in Vegas.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said guard Brandon Taylor. “It’s just great to be here, just to be a part of something special like this in the month of March is just amazing.”

For senior Dallin Bachynski, this will be his first and last NCAA Tournament. The big man has been here through the worst of times and now the best of times, being a part of the journey that Krystkowiak and company have been on since day one.

Three seasons ago, the Utes had just six wins to their name, and now they are heading to the Pacific Northwest to participate in the Big Dance, something the program hasn’t done since 2009.

“The program has come so far,” Bachysnki said. “It’s quite unbelievable what the coaches have done … I feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of that and finish off my career well.”

Other teams that join Utah in the South region are Duke, Gonzaga, Iowa State and Georgetown, who claim the top four seeds in the region.

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