CRUSHED

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Fatigued Utes can't hang with Arizona in ugly loss.

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Third time proved the charm. Just maybe not how Utah liked.

After two extremely close contests against the Arizona Wildcats, the Runnin' Utes were run out of Vegas - enduring one of the most lopsided losses in their conference tournament history.

So ends the regular season. Utah's hopes of a NCAA berth all but left to die on the MGM Grand floor. Their focus now turns to the NIT, and a probable first-round home contest.

As bad as this loss was, and let's be honest, it was horrific, it should not undo everything good established this season. Utah basketball took a gigantic step toward respectability again and this, sadly, is just one of the lumps they must absorb on their path back to relevancy.

It is what it is.

But I'm proud of this team. I am proud of their ability to go from 6 to 15 to 21 wins. The future is clearly bright for a once shamed program and I am hopeful, now more than ever, that we'll get there.

Today we didn't. It sucks. It hurts. It was absolutely ugly. But we will. I am more positive of this than at any point since Larry Krystkowiak took over.

Tomorrow is another day and for Utah basketball, their sights are now set to winning the NIT.

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