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The Utes' own March Madness

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Rick Majerus guided Utah to the national championship game in 1998. But was that the best team ever?
Rick Majerus guided Utah to the national championship game in 1998. But was that the best team ever?

With the Utes sitting out March Madness this year, I thought we'd at least get in on some action and create our own tournament.

No, I'm not suggesting the Utes take on other struggling programs around the country. Instead, this will be a tournament that incorporates the best teams in Utah history and pits them against one another to get the definitive Greatest Utah Team Ever.

Sounds easy, right?

Well no. Utah has had some amazing teams over its rich 100-plus years. We can't include them all. That would take too long and frankly, I'm just too lazy for a task that wide. So that means we're going to have to whittle down this list to only ten teams, forming a more concise bracket. Then we'll seed each team accordingly and put it to a vote, eventually coming up with the winner.

Now that sounds easy.

But how the hell are we going to figure out which teams should and should not be included in this tournament?

For starters, let's get the no-brainers out of the way.

1998 is a lock, and probably the favorite to win the entire thing. That team was a half away from winning it all.

1997 is probably a lock, as well, advancing to the Elite Eight before eventually falling to Kentucky.

1966 is a lock because they made the Final Four.

1961 then is a lock, as well, because they also made the Final Four.

1944 should be a lock since they own the only major championship in all of Utah athletics history.

That's five teams I believe are locks. Others that could be included:

1956 Elite Eight team that went 22-6 overall and 12-2 in conference play.

1981 Sweet Sixteen team that went 25-5 overall and 13-3 in WAC play.

1991 Sweet Sixteen team that went 30-4 and 15-1 in WAC play (this was the first 30-win season in school history).

1996 Sweet Sixteen team that went 27-7 and 15-3 in WAC play.

1999 Second Round team that went 28-5 and 14-0 in WAC play (the only Utah team to record a perfect conference record).

2005 Sweet Sixteen team that went 29-6 and 13-1 in Mountain West play.

That's six teams. We need to eliminate one. That's no easy task because I think they're all good.

So we'll put it to a vote. We'll call this a six-team elimination free-for-all!

The team with the most amount of votes will be left out and we'll move on to the ten team tournament (which will include a play-in game).

The power is in your hands.

Once we're done with this, we'll seed 'em.