Utah, even after all their road struggles, still is alive for a NCAA Tournament at-large bid. Sure, it's not likely at this point, however, with a road win or two, and even more success at home, the Runnin' Utes could build a resume that warrants a look from the selection committee.
But for that to happen, Utah has to do something they've not been able to do this season - win on the road.
They get another shot of that Thursday night against USC, a team that has been dreadful in conference play and sits at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings. If there is a road game to win, this is it for the Utes. It's also one game they can't afford to drop, especially since it would indicate that they'll make it through the remainder of the season winless away from home.
The Trojans, whose lone win came as a stunner against Cal, will enter Thursday's game on a four-game losing streak - they'll also be losers in nine of their last ten. Sure, many of those games have been competitive, and I don't anticipate a final score that will mirror Utah's last win over USC (an 84-66 victory in SLC earlier in the season), but 1-9 is 1-9.
No win Thursday and not only is a NCAA Tournament bid probably out of the question, so is a trip to the NIT.
So, what better way to pad that resume than grabbing the first road victory of the season? While a win over the Trojans won't certainly turn heads, it could offer the boost the program needs after agonizingly close road defeats to Boise State, Washington, Washington State, Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado. It might also finally get 'em over the hump, and then, who knows, maybe they can walk into Pauley and shock the Bruins.
That would most definitely give them the resume to lock down a bid to the NCAAs.
But I don't wan to get ahead of myself here. First thing first is actually breaking the road curse. They've got to do that this week, if only because this is their last, best opportunity to do so.
Then maybe we can start, gasp, talking about postseason possibilities.
Please make it so!