Well I'll be damned. The Utes won and actually played a pretty decent game against a Big Ten power (okay, well former Big Ten power...if you go back twenty years). Now they just need to bottle this and bring it to the arena every single game to stop those damning losses to the likes of Idaho State Idaho, Seattle and Weber. If they do that, we'll have a pretty decent team on our hands. If they don't, well no one will care or remember wins like this.
But for tonight, it works. It works because this was an important game in an important two-week stretch for Utah basketball. Their next challenge will be the Oklahoma Sooners, who, like Michigan, have faded a bit since the start of the season.
Even though, this was a good effort all around. The Utes jumped to a comfortable halftime lead, let the Wolverines creep back into it and instead of wilting, put the game away late. Good teams do that. Teams that grow and progress do that. Utah has certainly progressed in that regard and hopefully it means good things down the road.
Of course, as I suspected, Michigan was not good. They shot only 33% from the field and generally, shooting like that won't nab you a win on the road. Utah, on the other hand, was far more consistent - shooting 50%.
Another good sign was the defense and the fact the Utes out rebounded the Wolverines 41-25. You're not going to lose many games if you're dominating the boards like that.
But, as I mentioned above, it's important for Utah to play this well the remainder of the season. Become a consistent team and maybe, just maybe, we'll be talking about tournament potential in February. Especially when wins over teams like Michigan and Illinois and Utah State and possibly Oklahoma (here's hoping) will be on their resume - certainly helping in the RPI department. But it will be all for not if they turn around and lose to Illinois State or Pepperdine.
Anyway, great win and something to build on for Boylen's Boys. Now let's hope they do it.