Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Utah has struggled on the road in Pac-12 play this season - winning only once.
As the season comes to a close, a sign of progress I'd like to see is another victory on the road. I thought it could come last week against Colorado, but that proved too tough. Tonight's game against Cal, who've already defeated Utah once already, seems just as unlikely. Still, until the game is in the books, I'll hold out hope for a second Pac-12 road win - the first, of course, coming against Washington a few weeks ago.
The Golden Bears are a good team, though, and have played their way into potentially winning the Pac-12 regular season crown. That certainly means this game is one they would like to win, as they're only currently a game back of first place. But Utah has played spoiler in the past already - upsetting Colorado and Arizona State earlier in the season. Of course, those games came at home, so, we're looking at an entirely different animal altogether here.
Even so, does a win really accomplish anything? Is it going to build momentum for next year's team or is it fruitless because, when it's all said and done, a good portion of our offensive talent will be shipping out at season's end? This is really what hurts the most about a bad season - you're not quite sure how to approach the final few games. There is unlikely to be any postseason, so, the wins aren't nearly as important to your overall standing (though, don't take this as me accepting defeat) - but you're also losing one of your best players next year, so, it's not as if Jason Washburn needs the minutes. Then again, guys like Brandon Taylor do - and he saw plenty of minutes, along with Jordan Loveridge, in the Colorado game.
So, what to do? You're not playing for anything and at the end of the day, any progress seen from Washburn, Jarred Dubois and Cedric Martin means absolutely nothing to the structure of next year's team. It will for Loveridge and Taylor and Dakarai Tucker and is that ultimately how Larry Krystkowiak approaches this game - the next few games of the season?
It'll be interesting to see how the final few games unfold because right now, statistically speaking, nearly every one of our best players is a senior. Sooner or later, we're going to have to rely on the younger players to control the flow and dominate the game - is that now?
I don't know. Either way, I hope for a good game and an impressive road win.