|2.5 WSU (-108) @ pinnacle|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on Washington St at 10:00 ET.
Larry Krystkowiak led Montana to back-to-back NCAA berths in his two seasons at his alma mater and then took the Utah job to begin the 2011-12 season. He had losing seasons in his first two years but then led his team to an average of 23.4 wins per season over the next five with postseason berths in each one (3 NIT and 2 NCAA). However, the Utes opened this season off seasons of just 17 and 16 wins. Utah enters this game just 5-6, including 2-5 in the Pac. Kyle Smith was at Columbia for SIX seasons and in his final one, led the Lions to a 25-10 record and a CIT championship. He spent three seasons at San Francisco, winning 20, 22 and 21 games. He was named head coach at Washington St on March 27, 201 and led the Cougars to a 16-16 record. No big deal? It was the team's best since 2011-12!.
Utah lost Both Gach to Minnesota (transfer) but returned four starters. 6-6 forward Allen led the team in scoring last season and is averaging 17.3 & 5.8. Guard Alfonso Plummer (13.0) is the only other double digit scorer. Joining Allen up front are the 6-8 Jantunen (9.5 & 4.5), the 7-0 Carlson (6.4) and the 6-9 Battin (5.4 & 34.5). Gach liked to play PG and his leaving has opened that role up to Jones (5.7 & 4.1 APG), who joins Plummer in the starting backcourt, while freshman Larsson (8.0) comes off the bench.
Washington St guards Bonton (18.9-4.5-4.00 and Williams (12.0) lead the way, joined in the starting lineup by the 6-10 Abogidi (9.9 & 8.2), the 6-8 Jakimovski (7.6 & 5.0) and the 6-10 Jackson (5.2 & 3.5) More size up front comes with the 6-8 Kunc (5.3 & 3.2) off the bench.
Utah is coming off 72-63 home loss Saturday to California, which entered the game with one conference win. The Utes blew a12-point halftime lead, allowing 50 second-half points. The Utes have lost FIVE of six coming and while the Cougars are 1-4 since their 8-0 start, just ONE of those five games during that stretch came at home (86-82 OT loss to Arizona). The Cougars are 8-1 SU at home this season and will handle the Utes in this one.