Runnin’ Utes to Play in Sunshine Slam in Florida


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah men’s basketball player Riley Battin (21) takes a mid-range jump shot in the Utes’ win against Utah Valley on Dec. 15, 2020 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


The University of Utah men’s basketball team continues to build out its non-conference schedule to begin the season, announcing that they will play in the Sunshine Slam on Nov. 2o and 21 in Daytona Beach, Florida at the Ocean Center. 

Utah will host Bethune-Cookman at home on Nov. 15 before leaving for the Sunshine Slam road games that weekend. Boston College, Rhode Island and Tulsa will join the Utes in Florida.

The game against Bethune-Cookman is part of the tournament, designated as a regional round home game. Utah and Bethune-Cookman have never met before; the Wildcats are coming off of a dormant season where they did not play because of COVID-19. 

On Saturday, Nov. 20, Utah will play Boston College. This will be their fourth meeting in program history. The Utes lead the all-time series 2-1.

Depending on the outcome of that game and another game held that day, Utah will play either Tulsa or Rhode Island on Sunday, Nov. 21 for their second game of the weekend.

Utah leads the all-time series against Tulsa 5-2; this would be the eighth meeting between the two. If they play Rhode Island, it will be the fifth meeting all-time; the series is tied at two games apiece.

If Utah wins both games that weekend, they will be crowned the champion of the 2021 Sunshine Slam. The last champion was Delaware in 2019; the tournament was not played in 2020.

Air Force, Holy Cross and Bryant will also play in the Sunshine Slam, but Utah will not match up with any of them. 

This tournament will be the first road test for the Utes of the 2021-22 season, barring an additional matchup yet to be revealed. The only game scheduled before the Sunshine Slam for Utah is a home contest against Sacramento State on Saturday, Nov. 13.

The rest of the non-conference schedule consists of Missouri, Fresno State and BYU. Utah travels to Missouri on Dec. 18, Fresno State comes to Salt Lake City on Dec. 21 and the game against BYU has no set date but will be at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Utah is gearing up for a season with a lot of changes under new head coach Craig Smith. Traveling to Florida at the beginning of the year is a nice chance to string a couple of quality wins together before entering Pac-12 play.

The Utes will need all the help they can get this year, but the Sunshine Slam presents a golden opportunity for Smith to get his team right prior to when the games start really hitting hard.


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