Utah basketball walked into an impossible situation and gave BYU all they could handle - for a half at least.
Considering what had happened in their last game heading into this, I don't think any Ute fan can be disappointed with the effort. In fact, I think this game shows that, no matter how raw, the Runnin' Utes do have some talent. Chris Kupets, Will Clyburn and J.J. O'Brien are all exciting players. Their effort tonight was there and gives us hope that maybe the program isn't as depleted in the talent department as many might have thought a few days ago.
However, even with their solid performance Saturday in Provo, this team has absolutely no discipline. It was on full display as Utah turned the ball over 17 times. You're not going to win a game against a top-ten team on the road with that many turnovers.
But that has been a staple in Utah basketball all season. The talent appears to be there, the intelligence is not.
Is that an indictment on this coaching staff? Probably. I certainly feel, with how well in patches this team has played the last two seasons, that they are better than their 10-15 record. But when you turn the ball over like they do and have so few assists (the Utes only managed 7 on the night), you're not going to win many games.
Basketball is all about fundamentals and unless you're scary good and vastly experienced, you're going to lose more than you win if you lack fundamentals. That has been the case all season for the Utes.
With that said, I'll readily admit Utah played better than I could have ever imagined. I was conceding a blowout before the game and was surprised with the hustle and the fight.
Does it make this loss any easier to accept? Maybe just a little. But it doesn't change the fact the Utes are still destined for an awful finish.
For now, though, we can take solace in the fact that Utah at least covered the spread and held Jimmer Fredette below his season average.