Pac-12 Basketball Purveyor: Utah Should Improve From Worst To Very Bad

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 07: Jason Washburn #42 of the Utah Utes shoots over Austin Dufault #33 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the first round of the Pac12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

We start taking our first looks toward Pac-12 basketball next season. A lot figures to change next season, but some things will probably not change, like who will probably be managing the rear.

We start with the teams you can avoid like the plague, because all they're doing is setting the conference back. And we begin in Salt Lake City, the land where they forgot to play basketball last season.

Utah

Departing: Starting point Josh Watkins, starting wing Dijon Farr, starting guard Kareem Storey, backup guard Chris Hines, Anthony Odunsi, Javon Dawson, George Matthews.

Arriving: Transfers Glen Dean from Eastern Washington to take over the point guard duties, Aaron Dotson from LSU to provide more scoring punch. Four more freshmen also coming in, all three stars, the most talented of them being Jordan Loveridge (6'6", 210), who probably becomes the best player on the team by default. 5-10 PG Brandon Taylor, 6-3 Jordan Seymour, 6-6 Josh Hearlihy rounds things out.

A lot of Utes have been jettisoned, but many of them were one year stopgaps meant to fill in for Utah after the dismissal of Jim Boylen. None of them were expected them to stick around for more than a year, and their performance on the court provided ample justification to send them on their way. Larry Krystkowiak's four man freshmen class plus two transfers should be able to fill in the gaps.

They will still stink in 2012-13. But they should competitively stink. Two seniors are coming back, and both of them are among the most offensively efficient on the team (both cracked the 90 points scale ($), which is sort of like "cracking" a .08 on a sobriety test--don't brag about it). Jason Washburn will provide enough of an imposing presence inside and Cedric Martin should provide an occasional outside shot. Bring in the transfers Dean and Dotson along with Loveridge and they will win six games in-conference and be happy with it.

awbutler: Things can only look up from last season's painful bottom. There have been nothing but rave reviews of 6'6" incoming wing Jordan Loveridge who should make an immediate impact on this less-than-talented roster. Some late season victories (moral and otherwise) should give the Utes some momentum heading into another season of low expectations.

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