FACTS & STATS: Site: Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) -- Salt Lake City, Utah. Television: Pac-12 Network, FSN. Home Record: Colorado 9-1. Utah 7-6. Away Record: Colorado 2-5, Utah 2-5. Neutral Record: Colorado 3-0, Utah 0-0. Conference Record: Colorado 4-4, Utah 1-6. Series Record: Colorado leads, 23-15.
GAME NOTES: Emotions will be running high in Utah on Saturday, as the Utes will try to slow down the red-hot Colorado Buffaloes in a Pac-12 Conference affair at Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Utah will hold a halftime ceremony honoring the life and accomplishments of former head men's basketball coach Rick Majerus, who passed away Saturday, Dec. 1. Majerus coached the Runnin' Utes from 1989-2004, leading them to the NCAA Championship game in 1998. In his 15 seasons, Utah earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament 10 times, making the Elite Eight in 1997 and the Sweet 16 in 1991 and 1996.
These Utes though, don't resemble the Majerus teams, as they enter this contest having lost two straight and seven of their last eight following an 87-56 rout at the hands of Stanford on Sunday. Justin Seymour paced Utah with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field off the bench.
Colorado, meanwhile, continued its strong play on Sunday, as Askia Booker netted 20 points and led four Buffaloes in double figures in an 81-71 victory over California. Xavier Johnson registered his first career double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Spencer Dinwiddie converted 9-of-10 at the charity stripe en route to 16 points. Andre Roberson provided 15 points to help the Buffaloes win their third straight and for the fourth time in six tries.
Colorado has won five straight over the Utes and now leads the all-time series by a count of 23-15. The Buffaloes beat them three times last season, including a 40-point shellacking, as well as a win against them in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.
Jordan Loveridge (12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Jarred DuBois (11.8 ppg, 3.1 apg) are the top scoring options for Utah. In just his freshman season Loveridge has already become a leader for the Utes having scored in double figures in 13 of the Utes' 19 games. However, he was held scoreless in 13 minutes in the loss to Stanford. Jason Washburn (10.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is another solid option in the frontcourt having scored in double figures in nine of the last 10 games. Utah may rank just 10th in the conference in scoring (65.4 ppg) but the Utes have generally kept themselves competitive thanks to strong showings on the defensive end. Utah is giving up just 61.2 points per game on a league-best 38.0 percent shooting. That opponent field goal percentage is among the best in the country.
The Buffaloes have made a habit of spreading the ball around this season. Dinwiddie (14.5 ppg) is the leading scorer on a team that features four players in double figures. Booker (14.4 ppg) teams with Dinwiddie in the backcourt as the second best scoring option. In the frontcourt double-double machine Andre Roberson (10.8 ppg, 11.6 rpg) and Josh Scott (12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are the most productive contributors. Roberson has been especially so as he is second in the nation in rebounding while ranking in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in steals (2.0 pg) and blocks (1.5 pg). Roberson has helped Colorado become the second best rebounding team in the conference (38.6 pg), while the Buffaloes limit foes to less than 40 percent shooting.
Colorado absolutely decimated Stanford before the Cardinal did the same to Utah. The building will be lively with the Majerus stuff going on, but it won't be nearly enough to carry the Utes in this one.