Utah Utes vs. Eastern Washington Eagles Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 6th 2023

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Eastern Washington’s arduous non-conference schedule — which includes trips to Ole Miss and Cincinnati as well as contests against five Pac-12 teams — will begin Monday night vs. Utah in Salt Lake City.

The Utes posted a 17-15 overall record and a 10-10 Pac-12 mark last season in Craig Smith’s second year as their head coach. That was an improvement from an 11-20, 4-16 record in his first campaign.

Two-time All-Pac-12 center Branden Carlson is back after testing the NBA draft.

The Utes also added two transfers from Pac-12 schools — guard Cole Bajema from Washington and center Lawson Lovering from Colorado — in addition to welcoming former Mississippi State and Georgia Tech guard Deivon Smith.

Utah is seeking an NCAA waiver for Smith to play this season as a two-time transfer. He averaged 7.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game last season for Georgia Tech.

“We just look a lot different this year in every way, shape and form than we did the last two years, and I think that’s a real positive,” said Smith, whose team returns four starters from last season.

Eastern Washington, the regular-season Big Sky champion last year, will play at Ole Miss (Friday) and Cincinnati (Sunday) after playing Utah. The Eagles will play at Stanford on Nov. 17.

The Eagles will travel to Washington State and USC in late November. They are scheduled to play at Washington on Dec. 21.

“I feel like if you don’t get excited to play games like that, I don’t know what games you can get excited for,” Eastern Washington forward Ethan Price said. “We know it’s not going to be a walk in the park, but that’s what we want.”

The Eagles won at Washington State in last season’s postseason National Invitation Tournament. They posted a 23-11 record in 2022-23, marking the sixth time they reached 20 victories.

David Riley, entering his third season as head coach at Eastern Washington, was the Big Sky Coach of the Year.

Eastern Washington returns six players, including four juniors led by Price — a preseason All-Big Sky selection. Price and fellow forward Casey Jones were regular starters on last year’s team.

–Field Level Media

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