NABC all-district first-teamer Luke Nevill and four other Runnin' Utes will celebrate Senior Day while also trying to lock up a conference championship Saturday.
March 6, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah men's basketball team (20-9, 11-4 MWC) will take its third crack at clinching at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship on Saturday, in front of its home crowd on Senior Day. The Runnin' Utes host TCU (14-15, 5-10 MWC) live on the Mtn. at 4 p.m. MT.
The Utes are coming off back-to-back road losses at BYU and New Mexico, who incidentally make up the three-way tie with Utah at the top of the league standings. Head coach Jim Boylen and his squad should feel good about the prospects of snapping that streak, as they are 7-0 in conference home games this year.
TCU enters the contest looking to break out of a three-game losing skid, including two road contests. In fact, TCU's only conference road victory came at Air Force on Jan. 17. They do however have notable non-conference road wins against Colorado and in-state foe Texas Tech.
In their last meeting, a Feb. 4 matchup in Fort Worth, Texas, Utah downed the Horned Frogs, 62-54. Sophomore guard Carlon Brown (Riverside, Calif.) led the Utes with a double-double, scoring 14 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing 12 assists. Brown also made SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day with his dunk over TCU's Kevin Langford. Senior center Luke Nevill (Perth, Australia) also chipped in 12 points, going 6-of-6 from the foul line, and pulled down five boards. Nevill, who continues to make a strong case for All-America and MWC Player of the Year honors, is Utah's leading scorer with 17.0 points per game and tops the conference in rebounds (8.6 rpg) and blocked shots (2.76 bpg).
Nevill's top scoring and rebounding counterparts for TCU are Langford (14.2 ppg) and Zvonko Buljan (8.0 rpg), respectively.
Utah leads the Frogs in most relevant statistical categories. TCU does hold a slight edge in points allowed per game (1.4 ppg less) and a significant advantage in turnover margin (+4.0).
Utah holds a 10-4 advantage in the all-time series against the Horned Frogs, including a 6-2 edge at home. However, both of TCU's wins have come in the last two meetings at the Huntsman Center. The Utes and Frogs have split their meetings three years in a row, including winning on each other's home floor the last two years. Prior to TCU's 2007 win in Salt Lake City, Utah had won six straight at home over the Horned Frogs.