Utah basketball loses Gabe Madsen in huge blow to Utes

The Pac-12 Conference is looking more and more like a league in which just three teams will make the NCAA Tournament. A few weeks ago, Arizona State and Utah figured to be potential at-large teams before enduring losing skids.

Notably, the Utes just lost a key player in Gabe Madsen for the next 4-6 weeks. Madsen is dealing with a lower leg injury and is likely to miss the remainder of the regular season.

The Utes are 15-9 on the year, and Madsen was their second-leading scorer, averaging 11.7 PPG. He had three straight double-digit scoring efforts before the injury, so this is a significant loss for Utah.

Utah has an 8-5 record in the Pac-12, good for fourth place entering the weekend, but losing Madsen might be too much for the Utes to overcome.

The next couple of games shouldn’t be an issue for Utah — they face California and Colorado. After that, the schedule is unfavorable: at Arizona and Arizona State, then home against UCLA and USC before finishing the season with a road game at Colorado.

With Madsen out, Utes leading scorer Branden Carlson will have to do more work, and sophomore guard Lazar Stefanovic should see more opportunities on offense.

When USC goes to Salt Lake City in late February, it will not face Madsen.


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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire