The Utes have made strides year-over-year, leaning on Hudl’s integrated solutions to maximize output and streamline their video routine.

Since hiring head coach Craig Smith in 2021, the Utah men’s basketball program is back to its winning ways. 

In his first three seasons at the helm, Smith and his team have posted increasingly positive results, posting an 11-20 record in year one, 17-15 in year two, and 22-15 in 2023-24.

The Utes also made their first postseason tournament appearance since the 2017-18 season, both seasons culminating in NIT bids. Heading into the next season, the Utes have momentum to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in nearly a decade.

But basketball is a fickle game. With change comes an opportunity for innovation. The Utah coaches share a technology-friendly mindset and are seeing success using Hudl’s streamlined solutions to power player development and team tactics.

“Honestly, it’s just the whole suite. Being able to leverage all the tools has been so easy. And I think it helps separate us as a program [against] other teams.” Matt Lopez, Director of Scouting and Video Operations, University of Utah Men's Basketball

Player Development and Performance Analysis

Matthew Lopez is the Director of Scouting and Video Operations for the Utah men’s basketball program. He credits his team’s willingness to leverage all the streamlined solutions in a Hudl Pro Suite as part of the program’s uptick.

“We're technologically well-rounded. We have a staff that is willing to invest the time and understand how to leverage these tools for our program and make an impact every day," he said. “Our whole staff has a background with Hudl. I was impressed coming in.”

For Lopez, his focus is on optimizing the basketball scouting routine and making the day-to-day operations as efficient as possible. The program’s recent addition of Hudl Focus—the hands-free smart camera—to their gym has been critical.

“When I got here, we didn’t have a Focus camera. And in my experience and with where Hudl’s at, it’s a no-brainer,” he said. “Instead of putting two people on an old camera system, with Hudl Focus, it allows us to stream it. We could be anywhere in the gym or country and we can code practice.”

The Utah staff use Hudl Focus to capture practice film, add coding to the feed live and then use Hudl Replay to provide instant feedback for players. The speed with which they can make adjustments, both big and small, is faster than anywhere Lopez has worked in his career, including his time at Arkansas when the Razorbacks reached the Sweet 16.

A look at Utah women's basketball league exchange

In-Game Decisions and Team Tactics

Assistant coach Chris Burgess is responsible for scouting, recruiting and offensive tactics. He professed Hudl and Hudl Sportscode are central to player development and team tactics. These tools are integral to Utah men’s basketball DNA and are an essential part of his daily routine.

“Our philosophy at the University of Utah is the four ways we get better: on the court, in the weight room, in the film room and analytically,” Burgess said. “So Hudl and Sportscode is a huge part of our player development both individually and collectively.”

Lopez and his team of student managers use Hudl Focus, Hudl Sportscode and Hudl Replay to turn practice into the ideal learning environment. These tools are also available on the bench for coaches and players to make in-game adjustments.

“I see what their coding in terms of post touches, paint touches, or what we call zone one, two and three, meaning paint, long twos and threes. I’m getting it instantly to my iPad so I can see how efficient we are on the offensive side of the basketball,” Burgess explained. 

“And then taking those clips, maybe it’s three or four of them, and showing it to our guys at halftime. There are a couple of times where I’ve shown our bigs and said, ‘Hey look. I told you duck and told you to post on this baseline. Now look how he’s guarding you, you need to spin baseline.’ Then they’ll see it and go ‘Ok, I got it.’”

Those micro-adjustments can turn the tide in competitive games. Games may start with personnel and tactics, but they are won in the details. Having tools that pinpoint key insights in a quick, digestible way is essential.

Justin Johnson is a Special Assistant to the Head Coach. He insists the versatility and connectedness of Hudl’s tools make them indispensable in college basketball.

“If you have a hammer, you can do so many things. If you have a hammer and saw, maybe you can do a few more things. The more tools you have with the [Hudl] software, the more information you can pull up quickly, the more things you can pull up and analyze,” Johnson said. “It’s extremely invaluable to me.”

Speed + Preparation = League Exchange

The ability to synthesize massive amounts of video and data in a minimal amount of time is how the best programs stay on top. 

Lopez and the Utah coaching staff use the Hudl League Exchange to stay prepared. The platform connects the staff to a comprehensive video and data library, surfacing exactly what is needed in minutes without starting from scratch.

“League exchange has probably been the most impactful tool that we’ve received in the last three years just because of the time it saves our entire staff,” Lopez said.

Burgess says speed has been the biggest factor for him.

“I like the convenience of it. I just click, pick three different things, input the team or the league, and it brings it all up. Within three or four minutes I’m able to get going,” Burgess said. “It’s pretty impressive.”

By having the League Exchange available for all coaches on staff, the asks for video and data is lessened on Lopez. Instead of funneling every request through him or passing around a hard drive, Lopez builds on their analysis to help them dig deeper.

“Everything’s available for everybody. So to have the ability to just grab what you need when you need it has been huge,” Lopez said.

Each coach has access to the League Exchange library, accessing video and data on any opponent in just a handful of clicks. By having the autonomy to start their scouting when it’s convenient for them, Lopez is free to elevate their analysis.

Setting the Standard

From college basketball analytics to the transfer portal and beyond, the game is rapidly evolving. Programs that neglect opportunities for innovation are doomed to fall behind. 

Utah believes Hudl meets their needs today and will keep them on the leading edge of basketball moving forward.

"This tech helps us adapt to an ever-changing game. As the game of basketball moves forward, technology does too and our staff has done a great job leveraging [Hudl’s] tools,” Lopez said.

Burgess says Hudl Sportscode in particular is non-negotiable for anyone working in basketball.

“If I’m a head coach and I’m making a hire, if you don’t know Hudl Sportscode I’m not going to hire you,” he said.

Lopez insists the Hudl Pro Suite provides a distinct advantage over opponents.

“Honestly, it’s just the whole suite,” Lopez said. “Being able to leverage all the tools has been so easy. And I think it helps separate us as a program [against] other teams.”

The Hudl Pro Suite brings the most powerful analysis solutions in the industry to a single platform to streamline operations, maximizing your time and output. Learn more about the Hudl Pro Suite for basketball.