So, about the possibility of winning tonight...
The Runnin' Utes are doing their best to crawl to the season's finish line because they sure ain't chargin' toward it.
I really didn't know if they'd win tonight, but I kind of expected a better game. Of course, in the final days of the season, with a losing season all but certain, they don't have anything to play for now and it's entirely possible the team has mailed it in. You hate seeing it, but after this season, and last, it's entirely likely. But overall, this was a bad game - from the freshman on up to the senior Jason Washburn. I don't even know if there was anything remotely positive about this game except that Utah held Cal to 40% shooting. Of course, they shot an abysmal 29% themselves, so, even a positive is negated by other aspects of the game.
I guess the real questions coming out of these games is whether or not the Utes are really close to turning it around. Tonight's performance would suggest they're probably a lot further away than we'd like and that's always the hardest thing to accept about these types of games. We want to see enough progress for optimism and yet, as the season reaches its end point, there are far more discoursing moments than positive ones - which wasn't the case at the start of Pac-12 play.
Maybe it's all moot and doesn't matter because next year's team is going to look different than this year's team. But even so, even with Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor having more experience - is it going to be enough to make up for the loss of Washburn, Cedric Martin and Jarred DuBois?
That's a legitimate question, and, unfortunately, it's nights like tonight that make me wonder. Utah's leading scorer was Loveridge with nine points and they still lost by a lopsided margin.
I think, and I want to make sure I don't sound like I'm overreacting here, it's time we start conceding that next year is probably going to be as equally tough as this year once those freshman try to adapt to their new roles. That's the risk of having such a young team because the payoff might not come until two or three years later and right now, that seems like a distinct possibility.
It didn't seem that way at the beginning of the conference season when Utah actually played very competitively in its first two conference road games.
But I guess that shows you how quickly things can change. So, maybe, it'll change back just as quickly.
We can only hope.