Utah Utes Basketball, Welcome to March Madness….
Ok stop laughing, the powers that be have forcefully requested that all of us college blogs at Fansided kick off March Madness with a blog about our team. Now several of us pointed out that it was in fact a cruel joke to force this upon us. But they don’t care about our feelings. So here you have it. MARCH MADNESS UTAH UTES STYLE.
First Question- Will the Runnin’ Utes Be Seeing Post-Season Action?
No, no we will not. Unless we somehow beat USC, Cal, Oregon and either UCLA or Arizona on four straight days. So the Answer is no. And we’re not close to the CBI or the NIT or any other tournament that might be out there so no, Utah will miss post season play for the fourth straight season.
Second Question- Can Utah be any kind of factor in the Pac-12 Tournament?
My inclination is to say no to this question as well. USC is the kind of long and athletic team that is a very bad matchup for the Utes. And if we did somehow get past USC, Cal is an ever stronger version of USC. If we’d drawn something like ASU and then on to Colorado, well maybe. But not with this matchup.
Third Question- But Utah just won two in a row, aren’t we playing better?
Well maybe is the answer to that question. But Oregon St. kind of gave up and Utah shot really really well against Oregon. Not to mention that Oregon St., Utah and Washington St. won five games last weekend after winning seven total in the entire Pac-12 season. Needless to say that some red flags go up before putting too much stock in the final weekend’s results.
Fourth Question- What went wrong this season for Utah not to make post season play?
Well as I said before the season started, we had no chance to make post-season play. But a lot of people thought differently. I mean they were all Utah homers but I saved some quotes, just for a moment like this.
“We’re going to go .500 in the Pac-12 and win 20 games.”
“If a few things fall right, this team is headed to the NCAA’s.”
“Glen Dean will be an all Pac-12 player.”
“I can’t wait for Coach Kodiak haters like Hoyo’s Revenge to see how stupid they are. This team will easily finish in the top half of the conference.” (as you might guess this ones and the ones like them are my favorites)
This teams failure to make post season play was set two years ago, when Larry and Chris Hill decided to give us a self-imposed death penalty. And since Larry isn’t a coach who can go out and get players in one season (and the jury is out as to whether he can get them at all) we had little chance of doing much this year. The tragedy was to many people thought you could get a Big Sky PG, a WCC transfer and a guy from LSU who averaged 7 PPG and seriously compete in the Pac-12. It was never going to happen.
Fifth Question- What About Next Year?
Well this becomes the million dollar question doesn’t it. It’s something I’m going to write more on in the coming weeks, but I’ve had it told to me that Mr. Krystkowiak is going to have to actually win basketball games next year. Blaming Jim Boylen and saying the team is improving will only get you so far. And to do that, we’re going to have some more roster turnover. While I can’t name names just yet, if someone gave you an over under of 2.5 departures/transfers bet the over HEAVY. Combine that with three seniors who were 40 percent of the scoring. and 41 percent of total minutes played, well things will be different.
And despite what you’re hearing, prepare yourself for this lineup, a lot. Wright PG, Van Dyke SG, Loveridge SF, Olsen F, Which ever big sucks the least at the other position. Wright and Van Dyke will be inter-changeable. If Loveridge can’t make this move and guard the three, that becomes a very big problem.
As for how far it will get us. We saw this year that the Pac-12 essentially improved more than we did. This coming year we not only have to make up for what we lost but improve a vast amount to make up more ground on the field. We’re counting on our guys improving more than their guys and our incomers giving more than the other teams incomers.
It seems like a tall order. And the feeling right now is, maybe too tall.