FROM SALT LAKE CITY – The first couple days on this beat have been a whirlwind, and today that meant a trek from Spokane to Salt Lake City. We’ve arrived at the Huntsman Center with a pre-game post, and a quick look at an arena the Cougars haven’t visited since 2006.
UPDATE: As a couple commenters have pointed out below, the game can be seen live here: http://utahutes.cstv.com/allaccess/
It seems as if Salt Lake City was made for days like this – it’s cool but not freezing, few clouds obscure the view of the mountains and it’s been sunny all day. The downtown area is set nicely against the mountains, and is a quick commute from the school.
As for the venue – it’s big, about 3,500 seats bigger than Beasley. Though the two arenas do share something in common: a distinct red glow when the seats are empty. Just as Beasley Coliseum has a predominantly crimson feel to it, Huntsman is red, red, red. Everywhere. There are 15,000 seats in here, and every last one of them is red. I’d imagine this was a pretty intimidating place to play back in the Rick Majerus days, especially since the seats are essentially configured in a bowl surrounding the playing surface.
Anyway, since tonight’s game isn’t on television and this is WSU’s first game here with Utah as a Pac-12 member, I took some really awesome photos (sarcasm intended) with my phone to give y’all a visual of what you’ll be listening to/watching on gametracker tonight. They're up above.
As for the game, here’s our fact box that ran in today’s paper, and our earlier blog post taking a look at Utah with the Salt Lake Tribune’s beat writer. And a big thanks to Vince for rounding up all the links I couldn't get to this morning.
I’m interested to see how Ken Bone manages Faisal Aden’s minutes tonight. He played just nine against Oregon State on Saturday, with Bone essentially relying on seven guys – Reggie Moore, DaVonte Lacey, Marcus Capers, Brock Motum, Charlie Enquist, and Mike Ladd and D.J. Shelton off the bench. Aden and Abe Lodwick were each very limited, and Bone indicated this week that the rotation may be on the shorter side moving forward. But he also left open the possibility that those who saw lean minutes against OSU might get a little more time this weekend. Against a team as bad as Utah, you’d guess the Cougars could go pretty deep into the bench tonight, which might give Aden a chance to work back into things a bit – so long as he can positively contribute within the kind of efficient rhythm the Cougars captured for much of Saturday’s win.
That’s all for now. We’ll be back postgame, but you can follow along on Twitter @ChristianCaple for in-game updates. I’ll try to keep them fairly frequent to account for the lack of moving pictures.