You know something? I've been operating under the assumption that Utah basketball has been nothing remotely close to consistent this season. After tonight, I'm starting to doubt that belief. It's not that the Utes aren't consistent, it's that they're just consistent in all the wrong ways.
Utah entered its game against the Colorado St. Rams riding a season-tying three-game winning streak. They looked to do something they had failed to three times before - actually win a fourth consecutive game.
They didn't. In fact, they haven't won four straight since toward the end of the 2009 regular season. A full two years ago.
Since, the Runnin' Utes have come close, produced some fairly impressive wins and every time, without fail, they've reverted to their same, sloppy and ugly selves.
It shouldn't be a surprise to any fan who has followed this program because it's exactly the same thing that has played out the last two years. They rack up a string of good victories and then, when it looks like the team is about to seize on its momentum, everything falls apart.
So while I've been lamenting the lack of consistency the past two years, the irony in all of this is that the thing Utah has been most consistent at is what we've come to believe defines their inconsistencies.
For the life of them, they can't sustain winning. They try and certainly there is something to be said about that - but when the chips are down and the program has a chance to make a huge step in the right direction, they fall flat on their faces.
It killed them last year and it's once again killing them this year.
Of course, this isn't last year. We're not a season removed from the NCAA Tournament. Jim Boylen does not have the luxury of a mulligan. This is it for him. He needed to prove that, even with how young this team is, they were moving in the right direction. And outside glimpses of brilliance, they just have not been able to do that.
The record is clear: Utah is 13-16. It's likely they finish below .500 for the fourth time in six years. They're 6-9 in Mountain West play - assured another losing mark. Boylen has only finished above .500 in the conference once here at Utah - two years ago.
Going back to Ray Giacoletti's final two seasons, the Utes are now working on their fifth losing conference record in six. You're not going to find a worse stretch in the modern era for this program.
What we wanted from Boylen when this season started was a change from that struggle. I just don't see that change.
I like Boylen personally and I wanted it to work out because he's an upstanding, tough character. But it's obvious that things just aren't working out. To be sure, his career didn't end tonight with a loss to CSU. The Rams are a good team and it's never easy going into their gym and coming out with a victory.
His career potentially ended because it built up to this moment. He put himself in the position where he needed to do the remarkable to save his job. It's not fair, obviously, but it is what it is.
This season could have been different. This team has the talent to do better than it has. My opinion of Boylen was not solidified tonight. It just wasn't changed.
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