Tonight Utah takes on Air Force, the 17th ranked team in the nation. And though Utah already owns a win over the Falcons this season, they're a terrible team on the road and I'm guessing Air Force will be looking for a bit of revenge. Even with Utah winning 2 straight, I'm expecting a blowout and would be surprised if Utah actually kept this one close.
Air Force's 28 straight home wins is currently the longest streak in the NCAA and Air Force's margin of victory is 23.2 at home, where they're 11-0 this season. That will prove to be a daunting task for a Utah team that has only won one game on the road. That win came last week against TCU, the conference's worst team.
Utah's defense has struggled and even during their two game winning streak the team has yet to show signs of progress. Colorado State shot over 60% from the field against Utah and the TCU win was anything but impressive. They will definitely need to play better against Air Force if they're going to have any chance of even staying in the game.
I expect Utah to shoot the ball fairly well, but that probably won't be enough, as defensively they're not very good. The Falcons' leading scorer is senior forward Dan Nwaelele, who is averaging 15 points per game. He also leads the team in field goal and 3-point percentage, which does not bode well for the Utes.
The last time Utah played Air Force they needed their best shooting performance of the season, and even then they barely won. Tonight they will need that and more to even stay within 10 of the Falcons, as Clune Arena has proven problematic for Falcon opponents.
I just don't see how the Utes win this game and would be surprised if they kept it close. Of course I felt the same way prior to Utah's stunning victory over the Falcons in Salt Lake a month ago, so who really knows.