As the University of Utah men’s basketball team is readying itself for another pair of road games, head coach Larry Krystkowiak acknowledges that winning in another arena can often be a tall order.
Krystkowiak notes that opposing team’s environments can be a little daunting, such as the one the Utes faced when they played against Arizona and the one they are going to face Thursday night in Berkeley. With a young and inexperienced team, Krystkowiak hopes his team can withstand the pressure.
“Pac-12 road wins are hard to come by,” Krystkowiak said. “You got to be a little better to get a road win.”
As far as making improvements goes, the Utes have been working to get more “creative” with their free throw shooting.
Krystkowiak has been separating his players into two squads in practice, and whichever team has the lower shooting percentage has to run. It’s something the players are buying into, because even though free throws may seem like a tedious thing, “there are no little things” according to Krystkowiak.
Van Dyke Providing a Spark
Although Parker Van Dyke has moved to a bench role since after starting for Runnin’ Utes at the beginning of the season, it is one he is adapting to fairly well.
There were a few bumps in the road, as is the case with most new additions to a team, but Krystkowiak likes what he has been bringing to the court, and he thinks his new role is one that suits him well.
“More than anything for Parker, I see more confidence and maturity, certainty about what he’s doing,” Krystkowiak said. “You don’t always start your most productive guys, and Parker can give a spark to the second unit.”
Coming off the bench against Oregon State this past Saturday, Van Dyke was 3-for-3 from three-point range. He finished with a total of 11 points.
However, while offensive production is always a plus, Krystkowiak needs his team to focus its efforts on other aspects of the game, and the players should not be concerned with what the final box score shows.
“We don’t predicate our success based on our offensive numbers,” Krystkowiak said. “To win a game you got to get more than two guys playing well. We still need to hang our hat on the defensive side of everything.”
Five Fouls Isn’t Enough
Utah big man David Collette has been getting himself into foul trouble quite often throughout the season. Krystkowiak would like to see Collette remain in the game to help the team — he has been one of the most consistent players on this Ute squad — but the maximum of five fouls sends him to the bench.
Krystkowiak has made the argument before, but he would like to see college basketball adapt a maximum of six fouls, like in the NBA, and he thinks there would be benefits to both the players and the referees.
“I think it’s a sick rule,” Krystkowiak said. “What other sport on the planet do you sit the best players out? Everybody thinks if you give them more fouls it’s going to be rougher. I think it’s just the opposite. If you give more fouls the refs can call them and not feel like they have such a short leash.”