Utah basketball has a five game winning streak after defeating Cal and Stanford at home last week. Utah is up to a No. 7 seed in ESPN's Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology. Utah is projected to be in the South region taking on the LSU Tigers and freshman phenom Ben Simmons in Raleigh, N.C. Utah's Jakob Poeltl versus Simmons would be a very intriguing matchup to watch with NBA Draft implications, as both are projected to be top 10 picks (with Simmons as the likely top pick). Oklahoma is the top seed in the region and is currently the No. 1 team in the nation. Cal is projected as the No. 11 seed in the region in a play-in game. Another familiar opponent in the region for Utah is the No. 6 seed Wichita State Shockers, who defeated Utah earlier this season. Utah's projected opponent if they were to beat LSU would be No. 2 seed Virginia. The Pac-12 is again well represented in this bracket with eight Pac-12 teams projected to make the tournament (which is the second most of any conference after the ACC's nine teams).
Overall, I like this bracket better than last week's. Oklahoma is a better No. 1 seed than Kansas, but Utah would not have to face Oklahoma unless they made it all the way to the Elite 8. The bracket also does not feature Kentucky. Simmons is excellent, but Utah showed last year they can shutdown big time big men (by holding Duke's Jahlil Okafor in check), and if Utah can prevent Simmons from having a big game, they would have a good shot at taking down LSU.
Utah will next travel to take on the Oregon schools, first at Oregon State (Thursday) then at Oregon (Sunday). Oregon is projected to be a No. 3 seed, the highest projected seed of any Pac-12 team.