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Poeltl shows off some power

Jakob Poeltl was a beast on the boards and couldn't be stopped in the paint here in Utah's win over Fresno State.


Utes use 19-2 run to rally past Fresno State

Jakob Poeltl had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and Utah used a 19-2 run to pull away from feisty Fresno State 80-69 Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

3-seed Utah tops 14-seed Fresno State

The Utes trailed very briefly in the second half but rallied for the 80-69 win over the Bulldogs to open their NCAA tournament. Jacob Poeltl had 16 points for Utah and outrebounded Fresno State himself 18-15. Box score

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

This Fresno State pressure has caused Utah to unravel in the last five minutes. All with Brandon Taylor on the bench following that intentional foul call.

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

I don't know what Rodney Terry put in Karachi Edo's water at halftime, but the Fresno State big man is playing with an intensity we didn't see in the first half. Bulldogs need everyone to play with that edge if they intend to close this gap against Utah.

Utah having way with Fresno State at half

The 3-seed Utes are dominating on the boards, holding a 26-8 edge in rebounds in the first half, en route to a 33-22 lead over the Bulldogs at the half. Lorenzo Bonam leads Utah with eight points Follow live

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

Fresno State coach Rodney Terry's game plan: bring an extra man every time Utah star Jakob Poeltl touches the ball. It's working. Poeltl has struggled so far. But they're giving up clean looks to everyone else, including Jordan Loveridge, who shoots 40.5 percent from the 3-point line.

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

Utah is obviously not a one-man show. But so much revolves around Jakob Poeltl. Fresno State is working to double every time he touches the ball but defending him begins before that. Rodney Terry's team has to deny his touches. Utah is just 3-4 when Poeltl takes six or fewer shots.

ESPN Stats & Info

First Round: Fresno St (14) vs. Utah (3)

Fresno State won the Mountain West tournament for the first time in school history and now takes its fifth trip to the Big Dance. But the Bulldogs face off against the red-hot Utes. Utah has averaged 12.5 more points per game in its past 17 games than it did in its 1-3 conference start. Follow live

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

Fresno State has to stop Jakob Poeltl from having his way around the basket. Utah is undefeated when it scores 40 or more points in the paint and Poeltl is a big part of that.

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

Fresno State's Cezar Guerrero said his pregame music helped him in the Mountain West tournament, so he's not going to switch it up in the NCAA tournament. His choices? Zapp & Roger's "Computer Love" and "I Want To Be Your Man." "I like the oldies," Guerrero said.

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

"I think we should just run, get out in transition and make them keep up with us." - Fresno State's Julien Lewis on his preferred strategy in his team's matchup against Utah in the first round on Thursday.

Myron Medcalf ESPN Staff Writer 

"I don't want to go into this thinking it might be my last tournament. I know it might be my last tournament." - Jakob Poeltl, Utah star and projected lottery pick, on the meaning of Thursday's first round matchup against Fresno State in Denver.

ICYMI: Gonzaga could surprise in Midwest

We've got you covered with everything needed to fill out your bracket all at one place. Let's start with the top upset chances in the Midwest region:

  • No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 Seton Hall: 32.6 percent
  • No. 13 Iona over No. 4 Iowa State: 25.5 percent
  • No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock over No. 5 Purdue: 19 percent
  • No. 14 Fresno State over No. 3 Utah: 15.9 percent
Bracket cheat sheet (Insider)

Team Stats

Points Per Game75.3125th
Rebounds Per Game37.697th
Assists Per Game13.5Tied-167th
Points Allowed70.4141st

Tournament History

Final Fours0
Tournament Record2-6
Championship SeasonsNone
Tournament Appearances6