Utes vs Ducks. Round 2. The last time this game happened, Utah squandered a 14 point lead, turned over the ball 20 times, played an embarrassing 20+ minutes of basketball, and still only lost by six. Oregon and Dana Altman has had Utah’s number for years. Their length, pressing style and athleticism has been Utah’s Achilles heel for years. It looked like the Utes had them figured out early in the Pac-12 season, but then it all came crumbling down.
Now, for the Utes, the only way into the NCAA Tournament is to win the Pac-12 title this weekend. Shoot, the NIT doesn’t look super promising at this point. So it all begins tonight for the Utes post season hopes, and they’re going to need to depend on the usual suspects. Sedrick Barefield seems to have recaught fire after a bit of a slump, PVD is shooting the ball well, Donnie Tillman is playing as good of ball as he’s played in a bit, and Timmy Allen is just like Tim Duncan... boring, low to the ground, but effective. The Utes are going to need their guys to step up.
Barefield, PVD and Both Gach are going to be critical to breaking any press that Oregon throws at them. Plays were there to be made in the first game, but they didn’t look up the court to attack the press very often. It’s almost like they were scared of it, and it all snowballed. If Utah can attack and covert against this press, they’ll be able to finish the job that they started in the first 10 minutes of the first game.
For the Utes, it’s simple, take care of the ball and get good shots. Then it’s just a make or miss game at that point. If the Utes have 15+ turnovers again, game over, and possibly season over.