No 1983 magic this year.
The Runnin' Utes failed to show up to take on a struggling UCLA team and dropped their seventh straight on the road in embarrassing fashion. It marks yet another blowout loss for the program that has yet to find any traction away from the Jon M. Huntsman Center and illustrates just how bad the bottom of the conference is compared to the murky-middle, where the Bruins have resided for most this season.
It also raises questions as to whether this team can even manage to win its first road game of the season. They're not good anyway and worse when not playing in front of a partisan crowd (however weak that crowd may be this season).
As much as the Arizona State win bolstered confidence in this team's ability, a lot of that was diminished tonight, even if not entirely deserving. We knew this team was bad. We knew UCLA, though struggling, was loaded with talent. No one should be surprised Utah lost this game. But in a season where all we want is a bit of consistency, the lack of total effort, the total collapse in the final three or so minutes of the first half and then the ultimate beatdown in the second, is a bit disheartening.
Yes, this team is better than they were in November. Yes, the talent on this team can't and won't win many games.
Still, it doesn't make the blowouts any easier to accept or enjoy. I might not have expected or believed in the potential of victory tonight, but I certainly felt the team would be competitive. They weren't and haven't been in all but one road game this season.
Because of that, the fact this team has yet to really build on any momentum (whether it was the Wazzu win a few weeks ago or the victory over ASU Saturday), it's hard for me to get on board with the idea they can beat USC. Yes, the Trojans are equally bad - but this team just doesn't get it on the road.
Now get through this tough stretch and come home, Utes, 'cause the road is one lonely place.