PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Matt Haarms has never played in the BYU-Utah rivalry, but it sounds like the Cougars center and Purdue transfer knows what its all about.
“I understand that they hate us and we hate them,” he said. “It’s that easy. You know they’re going to come in and are going to try to take your head off in every single play, and that’s how it is. I come from a place that had a big rivalry in Indiana-Purdue, one of the biggest rivalries in the country. So, I understand how that works.”
The Utes (2-0) and Cougars (5-2) have split their last four meetings, with Utah winning an overtime thriller last year at the Huntsman Center, 102-95.
Utes junior forward Timmy Allen has played against the Cougars twice, winning last year and losing in 2018, and even though it’s early in the season, he knows how big a game this is.
“When I first came in my freshman year, I knew it was a serious thing,” Allen said. “But my freshman year, we came out and got punched in the mouth, and I realized how serious and personal BYU took it.”
“They got us last year at their place,” said BYU guard Alex Barcello. “It’s a huge rivalry, and every game we’ve played has been tough. We’ve got to come in ready to battle. We’ve got to come in with the mindset that it’s going to be a war.”
There won’t be any fans allowed at the Marriott Center Saturday, but some friends and family will be allowed in to watch the game in person. So there still should be some rivalry atmosphere in the arena.
“I’m pleased that our families are going to be able to come in and enjoy it,” said Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “Obviously from a decibel point of view, you’re not going to have that many people that are that disruptive. But, to know that we’ve got a few more live bodies in there is going to do nothing but enhance the environment.”
Utah and BYU tip off at 4:00 Saturday afternoon in Provo.