Jan 26, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA Utah Utes center Dallin Bachynski (31) and Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski (35) and guard Nick Johnson (13) battle for the ball during the second half at McKale Center. Arizona won 65-56. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
And that folks is why Arizona is 20-0 and ranked #1 in the nation.
As for Utah, there are some complicated feelings I’m having. On one hand, our defense is really very good. Tommy Connor, who does a great deal of the work there, deserves a ton of credit especially. Delon Wright did everything to keep us around. I’ll admit I was a doubter when he came, but Delon is the real deal and if he could hit an outside shot, Mr. Wright would become a very rich young man. Of course if he had an outside shot he’d be heading to the NBA after this year.
The game essentially went as I expected. Utah stayed around for 30 minutes or so and then the grinding just became too much. Arizona goes on a 14-2 run over 7 minutes and that is BALLGAME. There is no shame in it, Arizona did the same thing to Duke and Michigan. It’s why I think the Wildcats will be national champions.
Plus from a pure hoops perspective, isn’t Arizona just a joy to watch?
As for the Utes, there are a lot of good things to say. Delon is Delon. I thought Bachynski had a heck of a game right until a really dumb baseline jumper late. Mr. Kenneth Ogbe, you need lots and lots more minutes.
At the same time, there are things that I don’t get.
I’m hearing Utah fans talk about how this is proof we’re really there and it’s all about to happen. Is it? Didn’t we just give up a crap ton of points to ASU? Aren’t we two weeks off of a loss to Wazzu? Didn’t we play Arizona close in Larry’s first season two years ago and that didn’t mean crap. It’s feeling like variations on a theme. Until we actually change the music, it’s hard to be convinced this team is closer to beating Arizona than losing to Wazzu.
Then there is Utah’s offense in general. I don’t really see why we’re doing a lot of what we’re doing. In fact if it were a different Utah coach instead of the popular Larry, our fans would be saying something dumb like we don’t have a system. A suggestion, this really needs to become the Delon show even more. I think the whole team would benefit.
In fact, I think it might be time to put the Brandon Taylor era to an end. The offense is simply better when Delon has the ball in his hands more. Loveridge gets more aggressive with the ball in Delon’s hands and Jordan is better going to the hoop than he is from outside. Taylor is too small and his shot is too streaky. Next year, Kuzma will take some of those minutes, the kid from Boise the rest. This year many of them need to go to Ogbe. It’s time.
Ogbe has to play serious minutes from here on out. Yeah he does some freshman stuff, but every minute he plays will pay off huge next year. We’re better with him on the court. I get why the staff felt pressured to play Parker Van Dyke after asking him not to mission. Utah high school coaches are sensitive like 12 year old girls and God help you if they think you’ve offended them. But the verdict is in.
Thinking out loud, couldn’t we get somebody much better than Parker Van Dyke over the next two years and let him go somewhere else? Or is living with Parker Van Dykes the price you pay in Utah to get Brekkott Champmans when they come along?
Let me finish with two complaints. One, you people have to stop whining about the officials. It’s becoming BYU-esque, just really really terrible. Horrible. Awful. And two, seriously Larry, you’re stupid glare at Ronde Hollis-Jefferson’s dunk. An 18 year old kid gets fired up and does something kinda dumb and you’re going to grandstand like that? Aren’t you better than that? You played in the NBA and saw dumber crap nightly. You can’t be that sensitive, can you?
The Arizona roadie became what I thought it would. Two losses with a closer than expected game in Tucson. There are some encouraging signs and some ones that still make you wonder.
Such is Utah Basketball.