The monkey is off the back and this team looks like they're ready for a Final 4 run.
Utah finally took down Arizon on Saturdayn afternoon in front of a national television audience behind a tremendous performance out of Brandon Taylor and a monster game inside from Jakob Poeltl in a 70-64 win. It was the type of game that we've often seen the Runnin Utes lose, where they've jumped out to a lead, only to see the other team come back in the final minutes. This time, Utah held on, thanks to a nasty crossover dribble and dagger 3 pointer from Taylor that sealed the deal with 41 seconds to go. Poeltl? 14 points and 10 boards against a big Arizona front line that has NBA-like bodies.
It was a gutty effort from the Utes, able to withstand the Wildcats opening second half surge that eventually turned a double digit Utah lead into an Arizona 2 point cushion. The Utes could have wilted under the pressure of playing a top 10 team that has had their number over the past couple of years, but there's something different about this year's team, especially over the last month. This team refuses to say die and refuses to quit when faced with adversity. There's somethign difference about Brandon Taylor over the last month. He was a dreadful player for much of the first half of the 2015-16 season. He's been nothing short of stellar with his leadership and play since the Oregon State debacle that was his fault. Bouncing back from that disaster is something most wouldn't be able to do. Taylor has done so, and Saturday was his finest moment, punctuated by that 3 pointer to send Arizona back to the desert with a loss and making the Pac 12 regular season title a 2 team race.
Utah now looks like a legitimate final 4 threat and is positioning themselves well for the NCAA tournament. With Colorado coming up to close out the regular season at the Huntsman Center, a win there and a run in the Pac 12 tournament could get them a 2 seed for the big dance. Get on the train now because Utah is going to be a trendy pick come Selection Sunday and you don't want to miss out on one of those seats.