ESPN's Joe Lunardi released his most recent bracketology (which can be found here), and he has Utah (15-5, 4-3 Pac-12) as the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region. After sweeping the Washington schools over the weekend, Lunardi moved Utah up one seed (he previously had the Runnin' Utes as the No. 9 seed in the South region). Utah's first projected opponent is No. 9 seed Gonzaga (15-5) of the West Coast Conference, in a game that would take place in Des Moines, Iowa. The Midwest bracket features Kansas as the No. 1 seed and Iowa as the No. 2 seed. The region also has Pac-12 foe Washington (No. 12 seed, play-in) and Miami (No. 3 seed), who Utah played in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Perennial NCAA Tournament rival Kentucky (No. 4 seed) is also in the region as well. This would be a tough draw for Utah to repeat their Sweet 16 finish from last season because they would have to get by a tough Gonzaga team in the first round, and one of the best teams in college basketball, Kansas, in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16. If by some miracle Utah did make the Sweet 16, they would likely have to face Kentucky. The Pac-12 is well represented in this bracket, with Lunardi projecting eight Pac-12 teams to make the NCAA Tournament (which is tied with the ACC for the most from any conference), led by Oregon (No. 4 seed South region).
Utah welcomes the Bay Area schools to the Huntsman Center this week. Projected No. 9 seed Cal comes on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and Stanford (who is currently just outside the tournament field) comes on Saturday, Jan. 30.