No, this isn’t an excerpt of what a Quorum of the Seventy Member stated in the 186th Semi-Annual Mormon general Conference in October. It is that time of year again when Utah schools finish playing their warm up games and begin to engage in physical battles that will determine the seeding in their respective conference tournaments.
The University of Utah is the only college in the state to play in an ever coveted Power Conference. The Pacific 12 conference has traditional powerhouses like UCLA, the winner of multiple titles in the 70s or Arizona, the 1997 national champion and most recent champion the conference has produced.
The Utes have nevertheless struggled to beat mid major schools as they lost to San Francisco. It didn’t help that their star Kyle Kuzma got injured in the first half.
The Utes kick off conference play on New Years Day against Colorado in the friendly confines of the Huntsman Center. The game will be broadcasted on national television on ESPNU.
Utah State University is going through some growing pains. Once an impressive mid major school with the best student section in the nation, they now have trotted through the first part of the season on a mediocre 6-5 clip. It’s not a good year when their best win of the year was a one point victory in Orem over UVU, a good WAC team who gave the Utes fits and beat BYU for the first time in school history.
The win against the Wolverines was impressive but the losses against Weber State and Indiana State certainly were not impressive. The Aggies weren’t favored at all to beat power 5 Texas Tech or Purdue in the Cancun classic but they certainly need to perform better against teams they should beat.
Aggie fans can cross their fingers for more conference titles, NCAA tournament appearances and maybe even another upset like they did over 5 seed Ohio State in overtime in the first round of the 2001 NCAA tournament.
The Aggies play their first conference game tomorrow in Logan, Utah at 7 PM. The game will be available for viewing on ROOT Sports.
Brigham Young University certainly has improved since their loss to UVU. The Cougars have gone 5-2 since that loss, losing a close one in Cali to USC and a two point nail biter to The fighting Illini in the State Farm Chicago Legends game. Nick Emery had a chance to win the game but his half court heave bounced off the rim.
The Cougars will once again try to beat the West Coast Conference powerhouses like Gonzaga and St. Mary’s as they look to make a name for themselves. They have pulled off some upsets over Gonzaga but have yet to win a West Coast title conference tournament. They may need to in order to keep dancing in March.
BYU hosts Santa Clara on Thursday December 29th, 2016 at 7 PM.
Big Sky Conference in-state rivals Southern Utah University and Weber State University haven’t played super well as they have a combined record of 7 wins and 17 losses. The two don’t face off until February 2nd but SUU kicks off Conference play at Northern Arizona at noon on New Years Eve. Weber State plays at Montana State on Thursday at 7 PM.
Utah Valley University of the Western Athletic Conference is playing decent. They had an amazing win against BYU in the not too far away from home Marriott Center in Provo but have lost three close in-state games since then to Utah, Utah State and Weber State. They have an average 6-6 record and will play their first conference game vs. Grand Canyon on January 7th. They have a few more non-conference games vs teams from the Big West. Their conference slate is smaller since the WAC is currently only an 8 team league.
This semi annual conference preview will be adjourned until next Fall when Conference play commences in college football.