DENVER – Jakob Poeltl didn't give a definitive answer about his future following Utah's 82-59 loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 7-foot sophomore from Austria, who is projected to be a high draft pick should he opt to leave for the NBA, had a season-low five points and four rebounds in Saturday's setback at the Pepsi Center.
When asked if he had played his final game for the Utes, Poeltl fought back tears in an emotional postgame locker room.
"I don't know," he said. "Maybe, maybe not."
Poeltl added that he planned to figure it out soon.
The lopsided setback, obviously, isn't exactly how the Pac-12 Player of the Year would like to depart – if as expected, he does.
"These guys are my brothers and even the thought it could be my last season with them – and it's definitely going to be my last season with our seniors (Jordan Loveridge, Brandon Taylor and Dakarai Tucker) – it's just . . . yeah, it's tough."
Poeltl explained that his decision-making process is going to be difficult.
"Right now I really don't want to leave," he said. "But I'm going to look at this decision I have to make over the next couple of weeks, days, whatever, and see what I do."
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak didn't have a lot to say about the situation after the game.
Krystkowiak said that they'll be talking and that nothing has been discussed with Poeltl up until this point.
"So we'll be getting together, for sure," Krystkowiak noted.
Krystkowiak declined to speculate on the matter, saying it would be like trying to steal the story.
"I know what I would do," he said. ". . . Ill leave it at that."
SENIOR SENDOFF: Starters Loveridge and Taylor closed out their careers at Utah, as did key reserve Tucker.
"It's tough when you've been with guys for four years and to definitely not play our best game on our last go-around," said Loveridge, who didn't score in his finale – finishing with two assists and one rebound in 28 minutes.
Taylor had seven points, four assists and four steals in his final game.
"It's over. It's bittersweet because I'm not going to get another opportunity to play with the guys that I play with on this Utah team and be coached by this coaching staff. I don't think people understand or even get how well or how closely knit we really are."
Tucker wrapped up his career with eight points and four rebounds against Gonzaga.
RARE MEETING: Gonzaga and Utah have squared off just six times and a 3-3 split over the years. Previous meetings came in Spokane (1938, 2007), Salt Lake City (1962, 2008) and at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii (2002).
As for the future, Bulldogs coach Mark Few noted that Utah's schedule is limited with 18 games in Pac-12 play and Gonzaga has to be careful with just playing teams from the same area or region. He noted that the 'Zags have had home-and-home agreements with Arizona and UCLA.
"I think we've talked in the past. I'm sure well talk more in the future if opportunities arise," Few said of the Utes. "Certainly I got tons and tons of respect for them. They have done it right. They got a three seed, so it doesnt look like they needed to schedule us this year."
NAME GAME: Kentucky. Indiana. North Carolina. Kansas. Duke.
And so forth.
The royalty of college basketball, and teams that will always get consideration for NCAA Tournament bids, if they're anywhere close to Dance-worthy.
Utah athletics director Chris Hill, who was on the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee from 2004-2009, said past performances by famous teams don't factor into the selection process.
"They don't," he said. "People think they do, but they don't."
Hill went on to say that fans, media, etc., make that assumption, but each year is a clean slate.
In other words, it's what you've done lately.
EXTRA STUFF: The attendance was 19,551 . . . Utah's loss ended a career progression by Krystkowiak in the NCAA Tournament. In his first three appearances as a head coach – two at Montana and one at Utah – his teams had advanced deeper each year. Krystkowiak's Grizzlies moved from the first to second rounds and his first tourney squad with the Utes advanced to the Sweet 16 . . . Utah is now 2-1 against No. 11 seeds in NCAA Tournament play.
Contributing: Brad Rock