SAN FRANCISCO — Over the years the Utah basketball team has made a habit of finishing higher than predicted in the preseason poll at Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day.

In six of the previous seven years, the Utes have exceeded the expectations of the Pac-12 preseason poll, including last year when the Utes finished third after being picked seventh. The year before, they were picked eighth and finished fourth. Only in 2014-15, when the Utes finished third after being picked second, have the Utes not done better than predicted.

So of course, Ute coach Larry Krystkowiak was not the least bit bothered to see his team picked for eighth place for the upcoming season, even though his team hasn’t finished that low in five years.

“I don’t mind, I’m comfortable being the arrow rather than the target,” he said Wednesday. “Past results are no indication of future performance so we don’t pay too much attention to it. Our guys are inspired and we’re going to stay humble and hungry and look forward to getting started.”

Not a lot of expectations for the Runnin’ Utes this year. They’re picked to finish 8th in the Pac-12 this year. pic.twitter.com/Q78v5w0pM9

— Josh Furlong (@JFurKSL) October 11, 2018

The two Ute players invited to the media day event also shrugged off the Utes’ low placing.

“I don’t read into that stuff,” said senior guard Sedrick Barefield. “I know that as a team we’re underrated and always pretty much overlooked. We’re never placed where we should be. It’s motivating, but at the same time you can’t get caught up (in that) and just stick to the process and try to get better every day.”

“We want to go out and prove them wrong,” said junior center Jayce Johnson. “I like that we got a low ranking — it gives us a chance to prove ourselves.”

It’s not like there aren’t reasons for the Utes to be picked so low this year in the 12-team conference. They lost four senior starters and return just five players who saw action last year. Nine newcomers have joined the program, several of whom will have to play this season.

“We’ve got a really solid freshman class, we’ve got basically one in every position one through five,” Krystkowiak said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of these new faces playing. Our freshmen are capable to play and we’re excited about it … a lot …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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Young Runnin’ Utes hope to exceed expectations again after being picked 8th in Pac-12 basketball poll

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