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Runnin' Utes take Stanford down to the wire, lose by three on the road

The Runnin' Utes are getting better.

No, that isn't a subtle jab at Utah's last coach, rather an honest assessment of this year's team.

They look far more competitive than they did in the preseason and in their conference opener. Even in defeat, I was impressed with the effort. Though they were double-digit dogs, Utah still had a chance to tie it at the end and force overtime. Not bad, especially against a talented team like Stanford.

What does it mean? Well, the gap is closing. Unfortunately, they're 1-3 in Pac-12 play and, like against Washington, failed to capitalize on a game they maybe should have won (the Cardinal shot 5-17 from the line). Still, it's encouraging to see this team actually contend in a basketball game - which was a far cry from where they were back in November & December.

I always said I wanted to see progress by January and we have. Now, hopefully, the progress continues and, who knows, maybe they'll surprise a team on the road this season.

Could it be Cal? Unlikely - but I like their chances a bit more today than I did a couple weeks ago.