Utah Utes Hoops v USC Trojans


Dec 14, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes guard Brandon Taylor (11) grabs a loose ball and heads up the court during the first half against the Brigham Young Cougars at Jon M. Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

If you follow me on Twitter and you really should (@MacatHoyos) you know that there is a differing of opinion among Ute fans about the importance of tonights game vs USC.

My position is that losing this game would really dampen our NIT dreams and we’d wake up to a CBI reality.  It seems others don’t share that opinion.  So I’ll present the facts here and you kids can judge for yourselves.

Utah stands at 16-7 with 14 of those being D-1 wins.  The nifty site RPI Forcast figures the Utes to finish at 17 D-1 wins and 11 losses.  Essentially they see us beating USC, ASU and Colorado with losses to UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Cal.  If the Utes do as they say our RPI will be about 90.  One more win gets us to a 74 RPI one more loss drops us to around 108.

I just don’t feel good about our chances unless we’re in that 18 D-1 win 74 RPI area.  And I really don’t feel good if we’re at 17 D-1 wins with a loss to USC.

And that brings us to the Trojans.  USC is 1-9 in the Pac-12, somehow inexplicably beating Cal.  They’ve lost two other times in overtime but have generally not looked good.  Utah won by 18 in their first meeting.  Not to mention USC is dead last in the conference -4 in the HoyoScale Standings (Wazzu’s loss last night dropped them to -4 as well).

Their man man is Byron Wesley who is averaging 17 ppg and 7 rpg.  Omar Oraby in the middle is also someone who could cause fits for the Utes.

As for the Utes, our road woes are pretty well known.  Kyle Whittingham has more road Pac-12 wins than Larry Krystkowiak.  Our last effort on the road, losing at an undermanned Colorado, combined with our loss at Wazzu doesn’t exactly leave one feeling warm and fuzzy.

So in my opinion, this game is pretty much a must win.  Otherwise we’re going to have a great deal of work to do to make up for it.

Utah really needs to win tonight.