Obviously it's very early, and a lot can happen between now and November. But right now Utah men's basketball has to feel pretty solid about the trajectory of their program. They are done with the doldrums. They made the NIT this season and were even set up as a late, late sleeper for the dance. They are set for big things next season.
Joe Lunardi has already released his bracketology for 2015, and it has Utah ranked as the third best Pac-12 team. Third!
1 seed - Arizona
8 seed - Oregon
9 seed - Utah
10 seed - Colorado
11 seeds - Stanford/UCLA
Now, let's be fair. There isn't too much of a difference between the 8 seed and the 11 seed in terms of overall value. The only slam dunk is probably Arizona, who if they return everyone outside of Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson should still handily take care of their conference foes. After that, you see a bunch of Pac-12 teams that made the tournament last season, all around the same range of their current bids (aside from UCLA, who will be losing a lot of their offensive firepower from last season).
But Utah being a 9 seed has to feel pretty tantalizing. The Utes lose no one from their core. They get Delon Wright back to lead the way as the team's own personal Swiss Army knife. They have Dallin Bachynski manning the middle and becoming just as imposing as his brother. They get Jordan Loveridge moving back to his natural small forward spot. They are getting two quality bigs in Brekkot Chapman and Chris Reyes to man the 4.
This is a very deep and dangerous team at almost every position, and if this team learns to win on the road, watch out Pac-12.
What do you think about Utah's chances at returning to the Dance next season? How would you react if the Utes ended up a ninth seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2015?