When Utah released its schedule for the 2014-15 season one date, November 18, was noticeable due to the lack of an opponent being listed. And according to multiple reports, the opponent expected to fill that date provided there are no issues in negotiations, will make the Utes’ schedule even tougher.
The opponent: San Diego State, which won 31 games and the Mountain West regular season title last season. The first game in the proposed home-and-home series would be played at Viejas Arena in San Diego, with Utah hosting the return meeting during the 2015-16 campaign.
Re: reports SDSU will play home-and-home series with Utah in men's hoops. Not a done deal, but they're talking. Would start at SDSU in '14.
Many expected the 2013-14 campaign to be one of transition for Steve Fisher’s Aztecs, but that obviously didn’t prove to be the case. SDSU also reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, falling to Arizona in the West regional semifinals. San Diego State will need to account for the loss of Mountain West Player of the Year Xavier Thames and leading rebounder Josh Davis, but they return three of their top five scorers led by rising junior Winston Shepard III.
Add to this group a highly-regarded recruiting class, and San Diego State is once again expected to be one of the preeminent teams on the west coast.
That should make for a good early season test for Utah, which won 21 games and reached the Postseason NIT in 2013-14. And just as importantly for Larry Krystkowiak’s team, playing San Diego State will help them when it comes to factors such as the RPI and non-conference strength of schedule, with the latter being a major issue for Utah in 2013-14.
Utah returns its top five scorers from last season’s team, led by Pac-12 All-Defensive Team selection Delon Wright and forward Jordan Loveridge.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.