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The Utah Utes had a breakthrough weekend in their first home games in the Pac-12 Conference, beating Washington State and coming within a hair of knocking off Washington.
Then again, just about every team in the league has had success at home. Pac-12 teams are 17-5 at home through the first two weeks of the season. Put another way: In 22 games, just five times has the visiting team found a way to earn a victory including Washington over Utah on Saturday.
"The road's tough," Utah center Jason Washburn said. "In conference, out of conference, it's so hard and when you play in our conference there's a lot of tough teams, a lot of athleticism, a lot of good quality teams."
The Utes go on the road this week to play at Stanford on Thursday and California two nights later.
The question is whether they will resemble more closely the team that lost by 40 on New Year's Eve at Colorado, or the gritty bunch that nearly swept their opening homestand.
The road has been unkind to Utah this season. In seven games played either away or at neutral sites, the Utes are 0-7 and have lost by an average of 26 points.
"I think we can use our road record this season as motivation," Washburn said.
Junior wing Cedric Martin said the Utes have learned to thrive off the growing support in the Huntsman Center. Alas, they can't bottle it up and take it with them to the Bay Area.
"We know Stanford and Cal are picked probably to win the whole league," Martin said. "We know what to expect, and we just have to play through that."
The air up here
Playing at a high elevation is always a concern for teams near sea level, as most Pac-12 schools are.
That could make the Utah-Colorado road trip the toughest in the conference. The Utes and Buffaloes are a combined 4-1 at home, and CU is 3-0 in league play after opening with a trio of home games.
On Friday, the day after his Huskies got spanked in Boulder, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said the altitude was a factor.
"I think it definitely plays a part," he said.
Of course, plenty of teams have bucked that rule this season. Cal State Fullerton beat the Utes by 30 in the Huntsman Center and San Diego Christian College played the Utes evenly in the season opener before falling by three.
Martin acknowledged the elevation is not a catch-all to prevent home losses, but it helps.
"I see the altitude as a big thing," he said, "because when I came on my [recruiting] visit it really got me. We'll take altitude as our advantage. But if you have a team that goes on a run, they're not really going to feel the altitude."
Utah at Stanford
P Thursday, 8 p.m.