Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sports
Runnin' Utes haven't won back-to-back games since last year.
Utah has certainly played a few good games this season. Unfortunately, it's been difficult for the team to sustain their success and win in a consistent fashion. In fact, since Pac-12 play starts, the Utes have failed to win consecutive games. They hope that changes today against the once conference-leading Arizona Wildcats.
The last time these two teams met, Utah came within a hair of defeating the Wildcats and potentially offering up the biggest road victory the program has seen in a generation. Unfortunately, much like every game this season, the snakebitten Utes failed to pull out a victory.
Arizona now comes to Salt Lake to take on Utah in a rare Sunday afternoon contest (the Utes have two this season ... the first didn't go over so well) and are actually in the midst of a losing streak - as they've dropped games to Cal and Colorado. As it was with Oregon last week, this affords Utah a chance to continue a team's misery. It also might give 'em the slumpbuster they're looking for. Either way, Arizona doesn't look nearly as daunting today as they did when the Utes nearly upset them last month.
So, is this a winnable game? I think so. If Utah can play with the same energy and urgency they did down in Tucson, I think, at home, they could pull out a victory. But Arizona is still very talented and in dire need of improving its tournament positioning - so, they can't really afford a loss to Utah. Even though we may see the Utes as improved, they're still a Pac-12 cellar team with a fairly bad RPI. Case in point: ASU. The Sun Devils entered their game Wednesday with an RPI of 67. They left, after losing, with an RPI of 81. That loss probably popped their bubble - though, a win Saturday night over Colorado certainly helps their resume.
But this is a statement game for the coaching staff. One thing that has dogged Larry Krystkowiak the past two seasons is the fact the Runnin' Utes still do not have one of those impressive wins that really tells you things are turning around. While Arizona has slumped a bit lately, a victory today would certainly fall into that category - especially since they'll technically be a top-ten team, even though they're certain to drop out of the top-ten Monday regardless if they beat Utah or not.
I'd like to see a win because, really, the next step in this long rebuilding journey is consistency. That's one thing that has eluded Utah the past few seasons.