Heading into the game against Oregon, the Runnin’ Utes were already massive underdogs. To pull off the upset in Eugene, they would’ve had to play their best game of the season, but when Utah’s best player Kyle Kuzma was ruled out with an ankle sprain, the chances of winning went from slim to virtually zero.
The Ducks ran Utah off of the floor, even with those ugly, seizure-inducing, glow-in-the-dark (why the hell do you need this?) uniforms. That said, it all happened without Kuzma, who was huge on the offensive glass, as well as is the team’s best scorer, in the last matchup with Oregon.
I don’t want to, but I suppose it’s time we all move on from this loss, especially with a game against Oregon State on Sunday. If there’s a team in the Pac-12 to go up against after a loss, it’s the Beavers. They are currently winless in Pac-12 play (that means 14-straight losses) and have a whopping record of 4-23.
Kuzma is supposedly going to try and suit up for Saturday’s game, but even if he doesn’t, this a team that Utah SHOULD NOT lose to.
Oregon State is very top heavy in terms of scoring, led by Tres Tinkle with 20.2 points per game. Stephen Thompson Jr. follows with 16.1 points, while Drew Eubanks averages 14.8 per game. The only other Beaver to average double-digit points is Jaquori McLaughlin with 11.2.
The problem with that is no one else does much scoring. The Beavers currently average 63.7 points per game, which is good enough for 331st in the nation. To put that into perspective, there are 351 NCAA Division-1 basketball teams. The Beavers certainly have trouble gnawing their way through opposing defenses (see what I did there?).
The big loss to Oregon virtually takes Utah out of the NCAA tournament picture, but there’s still a very small chance the Utes can squeeze into the field (so, you’re saying there’s a chance!). The only way for that to happen, though, is if they win out in the regular season and have a solid showing at the Pac-12 tournament in Vegas.
That makes every remaining game an important one, including Sunday’s matchup with the lowly Beavers. The Utes should have no problem earning the W, but commanding wins over team’s like this will bolster Utah’s resume when the NCAA Selection Committee sits down to choose the field.