Utah's head coach Jim Boylen has been waiting for this moment ever since his Utes were knocked of the NCAA tournament in March. Even with Boylen's recent success there still seems to be a lack of interest in Utah's basketball program. The Utes hope to change that by producing another winning season.
The Utes lost Player of the Year Luke Nevill, Lawrence Bohra, Shaun Green and Tyler Kepkay who led the Utes to a Mountain West Championship and a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Even with all the stars gone, there are plenty of bright spots for the Utes, who are returning three starters from last year's conference championship run.
Tipoff is set for 7 pm MST at the Huntsman Center. Idaho is coming off a quarterfinal performance in last year's CIT and is returning seven seniors. The Vandals are very well coached and are predicted to finish fourth in the WAC. The player to watch for the Vandals will be guard Mac Hopson who earned first team All-WAC and all-newcomer honors in 2008.
All Utah basketball fans remember last year's let down to Southwest Baptist early in the season and the Utes are very determined to avoid another letdown. Led by captains Carlon Brown, Kim Tillie, Luca Drca and Tre Smith expect the Runnin Utes to come out strong.
Jim Boylen has been intense all week at practice and has his team ready to start the season. Utah cannot look over the Vandals or they will be burned just like last year. Boylen and his team know that this is one of the biggest games on Idaho's schedule and you can bet on them coming to play.
Carlon Brown, G, 6-5, 205, Jr. " Designated leader of the team averaged 9.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 3.3apg last year
Luca Drca, G, 6-5, 205, Sr. " Returning starter averaged 7.7 ppg, 2.5 rpb and 3.5 apg last season
Kim Tillie, F, 6-11, 230, Sr. " Has added height and weight during the offseason and improve his shot
David Foster, C, 7-3, 255, So. " Expected to split time with redshirt freshman Jason Washburn
Marshall Henderson, G, 6-2, 175, Fr. " Sharpshooter is all-time leader in Div. 5A in Texas for made three-pointers (429)