Photo by Brady Lesueur
The new-look Utah Valley University men’s basketball team tips off the season against the Gonzaga Bulldogs Friday in Spokane, Washington. The Wolverines are out to shock the world and the sports writers unanimously picked UVU to win the Western Athletic Conference Tournament this season. In addition to a conference title, here are the staff’s bold predictions for this season.
UVU sweeps the UCCU Center-Brad Curnow
With a 7-8 record at home during the 2015-16 season, UVU has a home slate of similar difficulty this season. However, the Wolverines boast a revamped roster that should be able to make the leap and close out the tough games they struggled with last season. The Wolverines will finish games strong at the friendly confines of the UCCU Center as they sweep their home schedule.
UVU will start 1-6-Kaleb Searle
The cohesion of this team will be a process. When a team adds nine players that have played little to no minutes for the program, they have to learn to play together. The sunshine in this prediction? The Wolverines will have a marvelous coming out party Dec. 6 when they go into Salt Lake City and knock off the Utes.
Wolverines steal a couple of wins-Devin Olsen
UVU sneaks up on a rebuilding Gonzaga team at the beginning of the season and steals a win. The Wolverines then take BYU to the wire, but come up just short, then beat Utah a few weeks later in overtime.
Utah contender-Adam Cichoski
Last season UVU played in-state opponents, BYU, Utah State, Weber State and Southern Utah. UVU dropped three of those games by a combined score of 71 points. Its lone win came against Weber State in double overtime. This season, UVU will play BYU, Utah State, Weber State, and Utah. My prediction is that UVU will beat Weber State and Utah State, and will stay competitive with BYU and Utah.
UVU will lead the WAC in scoring margin-Mark Wait
Last season the Wolverines led the conference in scoring offense, but finished last in scoring defense. With additions like Isaac Neilson, Kenneth Ogbe and Connor Toolson, the new-look Wolverines will be solid on both ends of the floor, staying near the top on offense while improving their defense.
All-conference contender-Ryan Willie
With a mix of transfers and returning starters, it should be a season of continuous improvement under Coach Pope this season. Zach Nelson will be the on-court leader for the Wolverines and make the all-conference team while helping them go deep in the conference tournament.
A Havoc of a party-Kyle McDonald
The UVU men’s basketball team has lost eight straight games combined to Grand Canyon and New Mexico State over the past two seasons. However, in 2016-17 season, the Wolverines will crash the GCU Havocs’ party Jan. 7 in the WAC opener for both teams and give Dan Majerle and the Lopes a headache by sweeping the season series.
I’m a Pacific Northwest guy who loves his Pacific Northwest sports. An amateur movie buff who prefers the disc to digital. Chasing the sports writing dream while I geek out on Assassin’s Creed.