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Random thoughts on the Wyoming game and Utah basketball in general

  • Utah needs Luke Nevill to step it up. If he struggles, so do the Utes. However I question why Nevill is playing defense outside of the paint, that isn't his game and forcing him all the way out there not only makes him a defensive liability, it puts him in position to foul more than he normally would working under the basket. I also think Nevill is way too soft on both the offensive and defensive end. I was glad to see he went up hard, drew the foul and followed through with a dunk against the Cowboys. He needs to continue that type of play, especially when it comes to attacking the basket. He can't just expect his layups to drop. On the defensive end, he needs to play up to his height, which he rarely does. He often dwarfs many of the players out there, yet they easily beat him to the basket for the score and the rebounds.
  • Missed layups were the difference between a close game and a blowout in Utah's favor. I lost count at how many times Utah blew a layup and that's something I hope Giacoletti works on during practice. I mean, c'mon making layups are the most basic fundamental they teach you when you're just starting to learn the game.
  • Tough road ahead for Utah, as they play at San Diego State Saturday and then are back home against BYU a few days later. While I'm not sure Utah can defeat the Aztecs on the road, I'm fairly confident they will play well enough to beat BYU in a week or so. If Utah can get an upset against the Aztecs like they did last year, and defeat BYU, things may be looking up. If you're a Giacoletti hater, that's probably not a good thing, though.
  • Ricky Johns is finally emerging as the senior leader, something this team has sorely lacked this season. As Utah's lone senior, he's struggled, but over the past couple of weeks he's put together some pretty solid games. Johns played 30 minutes against the Cowboys and scored 11 points, including 5-5 from the line.
  • There is talent, though it's very raw and still very young. Giacoletti seems to have recruited well, so maybe there's still some hope for him yet. If in the end it does not work out for him however, the next head coach will have a loaded team that should be the class of the conference in the coming years.
  • It was good to finally see the Utes cut down on their turnovers. They only had 7 Saturday (2 in the second half), so I'm hoping this is a trend that continues. It's important Utah controls the flow of the game, and turning the ball over, especially in critical times, only damages Utah's chances of doing that.
  • I'm still hesitant however to call this recent string of success a turnaround. Utah's been in this position before, defeating Rice, Weber and Washington State before winning only 2 of their next 11 games. If Utah does improve and finishes the season strong, it may just be reasonable to assume the woes early on were youth and the team might just be finding its groove. If of course they go back into a slump, I think the blame should be shouldered by Giacoletti.
  • It really pisses me off at how close this team is to being really good. 8 games they lost by 4 points or less and that completely altered not only the confidence of this team, but the possible outcome of this season. Now while expecting Utah to win all 8 of those close games would probably be a bit too much, I don't think it's unreasonable to think the Utes could have won every close home game and maybe a road victory as well. UNLV and New Mexico were Utah's to lose, as they had a chance to win in regulation. TCU should always be a win, especially at home, and losing to Albany still stumps me. This team should really be 15-4 and 6-1 in conference play. That right there is an NCAA Tournament team and possible conference champion, especially with a home win over Air Force. It really does anger me to think what Utah could be right now if things would have dropped for them in those close games. Oh well, maybe it'll all come together next year and Utah will have a season much like 2005.