Utes down Sacramento State: The view from the cheap seats

Miscellaneous observations:

Another nice win. Sac St has some shooters, but the Utes handled them well. Sac St had no talented size, so it remains to be seen how the Ute bigs will do against a stronger front line.

I didn’t know Sac St was the Hornets. I always thought Hornets would be a good nickname if we had to abandon Utes. Plenty of hornets in Utah!

I saw Madsen not dressed. At halftime they mentioned he was injured and out 2-3 weeks. Anyone know the injury?

When the game got out of hand, Cravens filled time by going into overdrive with folksy sayings. One made me chuckle. Something about doubling up the rebounding total was the equivalent of stealing their lunch money. Could have done without most of them.

The good:

  • The D was very good, especially the 3pt D which was dismal last year.
  • Once again the rebounding was outstanding. Anthony with 16!
  • Passing was good. 18 assists on 28 baskets.
  • Carlson looked great on the offensive end, but 1 rebound ain’t gonna cut it going forward.
  • Solid first effort for Gach.
  • Bostyn Holt got some run and looked like he belongs. He’s very athletic. Maybe, just maybe, Smith has found his 9th man?

The bad:

  • The shooting woes continue. 45/30/72 isn’t awful, but it’s not very good.
  • The turnover problems continue. Utes were -6 in turnovers vs a poor team.
  • Neither Gach or Stefanovic stepped up and grabbed the backup PG title.
  • After looking stellar vs ACU, Worster and Jenkins struggled vs Sac St

Next up is Bethune-Cookman, rumored to be one of the worst teams in the country. The Wildcats are an HBCU out of Daytona Beach, FL. Game is Tuesday night at 8PM mtn time on PAC-12 mtn. Thank you Sunshine Slam.

Things get more competitive after this one.

My 2 cents.

Thanks for the report. I’m quite curious about Bostyn. Has size and JC stats were good.

Holt does not look 6’6”, but he is athletic. His vertical is not like Marco—42”, but he can jump & rebound. Has a nice stroke from the FT line—but have not seen him try a 3.
Marco Anthony is a great defender & rebounder—he is above everyone else, even 7’ Carlson when the ball is in the air. His shot is really flat—almost Timmy Allen like, so he is no deep threat. But he is really good.
Gach is great when he is moving fast, but he is so tall that he is not a great ball handler.
The Utes do play fast—they get the ball out of the basket fast after a make & run it up the court in a hurry. No more walk it up & kill time to shorten the game—Yes.

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In the realm of meandering, tangential, color guys at least Walton is generally entertaining. Cravens is downright dull and boring.


Bethune-Cookman is from the SWAC, the conference comprised of historically black colleges, the PAC 12 is going to play home and homes with moving forward. They are coached by Reggie Theus and have lost their first two games by large margins.

I like the free flow of the offense, but I remember during many of the LK years the Utes would be more free flowing and uptempo against the cupcakes but slow the game down as the competition improves.

The Utes need to fix the turnover issues if they are going to compete against better teams.

To each their own. I like Cravens and his folksy sayings. I tire of Walton after a half.


Walton would be great to talk to over beers, but not during a basketball game.

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I had to sit behind Walton at a concert, if that’s not bad enough he spent most of the night standing up and dancing !! ( Poorly I might add)

Some follow up to my original post:

I had no idea my post would start a Cravens vs Walton debate!

Thought #1:
I suspect the 3pt D is better because the guard line is bigger and longer than last year. Jones and Plummer were tiny. Larsson was tall, but not long and bouncy. Any good SG could shoot over these guys with ease. Only Martinez could give a shooter trouble, and he was a freshman who didn’t play much.

This year is a different story. Worster, Gach and Stefanovic are all have good size. All are aggressive defenders. Gach and Stefanovic are long. Jenkins is the only one who might struggle to defend the line.

Thought #2:
We knew the Utes were not going to be a great shooting team. Only Jenkins has a really good percentage with some volume. It appears Carlson can shoot, but the sample size is still small.

Here are the career 3pt percentages.
Jenkins 42%
Gach 28
Worster 28
Battin 34
Carlson 39
Anthony 34
Brenchley 33
Insufficient data: Mahorcic, Stefanovic, Madsen, Thioune, Holt. FYI Holt is an inside player. He did not attempt a 3 last year at his JUCO.

FYI the NCAA average is about 34%.

This isn’t a good shooting team, so we can expect the Utes to see a lot of zone defenses once the word gets out. UW, USC, OSU, and other PAC teams play a lot of zone. The improved rebounding should help the Utes run and get shots before the zone can set up. Also, just speculating, but could we see a ‘twin towers’ lineup with Mahorcic banging inside and Carlson bombing away from the outside? I wonder if that can work.

My 2 cents.


The twin towers lineup is one I was hoping to see during the preseason.

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Whoops! I got Holt’s stats from ESPN, and they were wrong. According to his JUCO’s web site, Holt is a career 38% 3pt shooter, although he doesn’t shoot many. Only 71 in 64 games playing 22 mpg.