Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kragthorpe: Utes, WAC putting the madness into March
Men’s college basketball » Bracketology is fine, but remember to leave a few blank spots
First Published Mar 15 2013 09:36 am • Last Updated Mar 20 2013 05:00 pm

Amid all the analyzing, projecting and guessing that goes on at this time of year, it is easy to overlook one basic fact of conference basketball tournaments: This is how automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament are determined.

Nobody’s a bigger believer in Bracketology than I am, having eagerly awaited every report from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi regarding which teams might be coming to EnergySolutions Arena next week.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But that’s a scientific process, in a system that’s created to allow some unlikely developments — such as what’s happening in Las Vegas. Utah, the No. 10 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, will meet Oregon in a semifinal game tonight. Just across I-15 on Tropicana Avenue, No. 7 Texas State and No. 9 Texas-San Antonio each will appear in a semifinal contest in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.

Obviously, those teams are a long way from completing a run to the NCAA Tournament, but it could happen for any of them. Some would say this is the flaw of the conference tournaments, but to me it proves their value.

Admittedly, I was dismissive when Utah fell to 3-13 in Pac-12 play and coach Larry Krystkowiak kept saying he wanted his team to regroup and focus on getting ready for Las Vegas. But it worked. The Utes responded by beating Oregon State and Oregon to close the regular season, then edged a depleted a USC team in the first round of the tournament before rallying to beat No. 2 California in overtime in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The Utes’ recent performance validates Krystkowiak’s program in his second season, but why stop here? The Utes obviously are capable of beating Oregon, and they’ve competed favorably against Arizona and UCLA, the other semifinalists.

Meanwhile, Utah State missed a chance to stage an incredible run to the NCAA Tournament, after all of the team’s medical issues. With the top two seeds eliminated, the Aggies rallied from 18 points down to take a late lead against Texas-Arlington in the WAC quarterfinals, but ended up losing 83-78. USU would have faced No. 9 UTSA in the semifinals.

That potential opportunity makes the Aggies’ early exit tougher to take, during a week that reminds us to leave some blanks in those projected brackets.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt


story continues below



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.