Utah got smacked. Hung in thee for 10 minutes, but then the superior team with better athletes, better size, more toughness, and just better players asserted themselves in 69-51 loss to Arizona in Tucson. Arizona looked like a national title contender. Utah looked like a team that will struggle when they run into a team with superior athletes in the tournament as they have with the 3 teams they've played with those same superior athletes (San Diego State, Kansas, Arizona). Not all is lost, and this could be a good thing as it points out flaws for the team to work on. You don't make Final 4 runs in January. Everything up until March is about preparation and working out the bugs. I don't think this game is wholly indicative of who the Utes are, but if we get a repeat performance on February 28th, it will be telling.
What We Liked
-The start. Utah jumped out to a 10 nothing lead behind some back-court scoring and tough defense. They looked like the superior team for the first 6 minutes or so.
-Loveridge in the second half. Too little, too late, but Jordan came alive with a couple of nice 3s after a terrible first half.
-Brandon Taylor from deep. 4 for 7 from beyond the arc and a team leading 12 points.
What We Didn't Like
-The McConnell Show. The Arizona point guard dominated Utah in the first half, and they never made adjustments. Make a guy go to his left once in awhile.
-Rebounding Murder. Arizona had 40 rebounds with 17 coming on the offensive end. Utah had 19. Total. Ouch. Completely stopped boxing out in the second half.
-The offense. The Utes couldn't get anything going offensively against a long and athletic defense and had to settle for way too many 3s just to get the shot off.
-The body language. It was strange watching a Larry Krystkowiak team looking like they had quit in the second half. Haven't seen that since March of last year...in the Pac 12 tournament....against Arizona.
-Outcoached. Sean Miller is a better recruiter than every coach in the conference. Larry Krystkowiak is often viewed as the best coach and teacher. Miller made adjustments that worked while Larry's didn't. Miller won the coaching battle.
The Utes return to the friendly confines of the Huntsman Center to host the Washington schools on Wednesday-Sunday split. First up? A surprising Washington State team that knocked off Oregon last week and put up 108 points in the overtime win.
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