Utah finds itself sitting below .500 and working on a six game losing streak. It's not a pretty stretch and it has led to the beginning discussions of replacing Jim Boylen.
Those discussions are mostly tied to his dismal record the last season and a half (he's 21-26), but also factor in the Utes' recent struggles against the BYU Cougars - their arch rival.
Since arriving at Utah, Boylen is only 1-5 against BYU. If the Utes lose tonight, it's probable they find themselves swept by the Cougars in four of the last five seasons.
No coach can build credibility and confidence among the fanbase with such a horrific record against your biggest rival and that is something Boylen will have to overcome if he loses tonight.
With that said, a victory will ease doubts and inject some much needed enthusiasm and optimism into a program that has lacked it since the end of November. It might not right the ship, but it'll get us turning in the right direction and that's important.
Of course, this is a very talented BYU team that is extremely well coached. Dave Rose, without question, is the best coach in the Mountain West and one of the best in the nation. He's been able to get everything out of his Cougar teams and hasn't yet produced even a hint of a losing season there. He knows how to coach and enters tonight's game with an outstanding 8-3 record against the Utes and has lost only once since his first season ended down in Provo.
So can Utah win? I don't know. They played pretty solid in the first half against the Aztecs, but I believe, while maybe not as talented as San Diego State, they're far better coached and that means the Utes will need their best effort of the season to not only stay in the game, but gut out a victory.
If they do that, the season has a new tune and Boylen might just begin his journey back to respectability.
If they don't, well it's hard to find faith in a coach who will have given the Utes their longest losing streak in modern history and an abysmal record (1-6...going on 1-7) against the hated Cougs.
Here's hoping we're debating the former after tonight.