With Loss to Arizona, Utah Utes’ Bubble Has Burst
The Utah Utes have come up extremely strong at home in Pac-12 play this season in large part due to their efficient offense and great looks near the rim. They have to play a style that involves a lot of moving pieces: passing the ball, dribbling to the corner, using pick-and-rolls and getting the ball into the high post to deliver slashing cuts.
In one of the most exciting games of the night, the Utes took the no. 4 Arizona Wildcats into overtime. If it weren’t for the Boston College Eagles‘ win over the Syracuse Orange, the Utes would be claiming all the fame. However, they came up just short, losing 67-63. Aaron Gordon fouled out with nine minutes left to go in the game, giving the Utes a puncher’s chance to win. But when push to came to shove, the Wildcats were too much to handle.
No single player stood out for the Utes offensively, but they played well as a team. It’s all about getting open looks in coach Larry Krystkowiak’s style of play, but the Utes defense also shined bright and held the explosive Wildcats to just 67 points in 45 minutes of play. However, the Wildcats proved that every team is beatable by making 14-of-19 free throws, including all but one in overtime.
Utah had a chance to boost their tournament resume with the win over the highly-touted Wildcats. Jordan Loveridge had one of the worst games in his college career, going 1-of-12 from the floor and scoring just seven points on the night. Even if the Utes win four of their next five games against the likes of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Colorado Buffaloes, Cal Bears and Stanford Cardinal, they will be playing in the NIT or sitting at home watching the tournament.
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII