BYU will look to get back in the win column Saturday versus Utah after a close loss to Boise State Wednesday night. BYU has not lost consecutive game in the Mark Pope era. Vegas currently has BYU as a 2-point favorite and the over/under set at 141.
Utah was picked to finish 8th in the preseason Pac 12 poll, but they return some key pieces and are considered a contender for a NCAA tournament bid. Timmy Allen is the headliner and top player for Utah. The 6-foot-6 forward was a preseason First-Team Pac 12 pick after averaging 17.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg game as a sophomore last season. He had a season high 27 points versus BYU.
BYU fans are also probably familiar with sophomore starting PG Rylan Jones. The local product had a career high 25 points versus BYU and was Utah’s third-leading scorer. Branden Carlson, also a sophomore and local product, is the 7-foot big man in the middle that can step out and knock down the occasional three.
One guy that seems to have take a step forward is 6-foot-1 senior guard Alphonso Plummer. Through two games, Plummer is Utah’s leading scorer at 17 ppg. Plummer averaged 8.4 ppg last year and and shot 42% from three.
Utah had some key players transfer and Caleb Lohner leave, but this is a talented team that will be competitive in the Pac 12. They don’t have the same length on the perimeter that Boise State has, but they shoot the ball better and have talented offensive pieces.
BYU should have more offensive success than they did initially versus Boise State, but the Cougars will need to play well on the defensive end if they want to avoid back-to-back losses in the Holy War.
Utah by the numbers:
KenPom Ranking: 57
Wins: Washington and Idaho State
KenPom Odds: Utah 60% chance to win