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Rivalry Game Lacks Interest

11 January 2011 Jim Balderson 15 Comments

Jim Balderson at Utah in 2007

There doesn’t seem to be much buzz for the BYU vs. Utah rivalry game up at the Huntsman Center.

Featuring one of the best players in the country, BYU is ranked nationally in the top 10.  There should be more anticipation for this game!

This made me think about the goals and priorities of this 2010-11 team compared to the teams I was on from 2005-2007.

Coach Rose took over in 2005 after our 9-21 year. We had limped through a tough re-building season that year with most of the players being freshman or sophomores.

Early on, coach established three goals for our team. 1) Win the conference 2) Go to the NCAA tourney 3) Beat Utah at Utah. These goals were discussed often in practices and team meetings and we put a lot of hard work to accomplish them. In 2006 we missed all three goals: finished second in the conference, went to the NIT, and lost at Utah.

In 2007, my senior year, we were able to accomplish all three goals. One of my best memories of college basketball was winning in front of a packed house at the Huntsman Center. The Utah game was our focus all year and it felt great to get the win.

I guess this shows the different directions BYU and Utah’s basketball programs have gone.

I wonder if BYU has talked about this game every day in practice for the last year or so. Doubt it. My guess is that the goals this year are 1) Win conference 2) Win conference tourney in Vegas 3) Make it to the Final Four.

BYU is playing for high seeding in the NCAA tournament and convincing wins definitely help the resume. I don’t know what Utah is playing for; probably to avoid losing their scholarships to the gymnastics team (I hear they have better attendance).

It’s unfortunate that this game isn’t a bigger deal because rivalry games are a lot of fun with two competitive teams going at it. BYU vs. Utah football is a great example.

My diagnosis for the Utah Basketball problems is coaching.

I don’t know when the change is coming but I think the consensus is that it will happen this year. I don’t believe you can load a team with odds & ends JUCO players and expect to win. Not in the MWC and definitely not in the PAC-12.

Coach Rose is consistently landing the best players in the state as well as solid 4 year players from around the country/world. Recruiting is the key. It doesn’t matter how loud you yell if your players just don’t have the talent.

I predict another lopsided victory for BYU. It might be close early on but I have a feeling what is left of the MUSS will be hitting the bars early.

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15 Comments »

  • Michael Davidson said:

    One of the best times I ever had watching a basketball game was sitting in the very last row of the Huntsman Center 16 years ago for a BYU/Utah game. Both teams were good that year, and watching Robbie Reid knock down a three (from what seemed like 8 feet beyond the arc) to seal the win with less than 15 seconds on the clock was just awesome. I can’t imagine that the crowd for the game tonight will have anywhere close to the energy that was in that building for that game or any number of others. Too bad, it’s always more fun to beat the Utes when they have something to lose.

  • Zac said:

    This game doesn’t lack interest from BYU fans. I hope there’s more Y fans than u fans at the HC tonight. I agree that the muss will be leaving early. I can’t wait to watch Jimmer and Jacks smoke some utes.

  • Kenny Scott said:

    BYU should beat them. I sure hope that BYU does not overlook them.

  • Joe said:

    I think this a real dangerous game for BYU. If BYU has a off-shooting night it will come down to rebounds, and Utah’s size should give them the advantage. Been a looooonnnnggg time since Utah has lost 7 in a row, and their backs are up against the wall.

    That being said, when you are a top 10 team, almost every game could be considered a dangerous game (one you should win, but could lose)

  • Brett Richins said:

    Jim,

    Its interesting that Chris Hill has appeared to wiff on the last two basketball hires at Utah. Hill’s hiring of outstanding coaches over his tenure has been the foundation of building an athletic program solid enough to be offered membership into the PAC-10.

  • oceanographer said:

    Utah has spoiled enough of our records (i.e. consecutive scores in football). It would be great to be the ones to give them their first 7-game losing streak in 50+ years.

  • Stew said:

    I just wish I could watch it….

  • CaseyA said:

    I think Utah’s team doesn’t buy into what Coach Boylen is selling. Nothing is worse for a program than lack of player belief. I also don’t agree that this could come down to rebounding. I think Utah needs to learn to play defense and playing against us isn’t the way to learn it. I suspect we blow up on them badly. Remember last year at the HC where the Utes gave up on their season. That’s what I expect again tonight.

  • Desmond said:

    “afraid of losing gymnastics scholarships” HAHA Classic.

  • Hoax said:

    This was an awesome article. Thanks Jim. That closing line was classic! lol…

  • kiyoshige said:

    Ouch. Don’t hold any punches, Jimmy! Although Utah isn’t ranked, they put up a tough game against both Air Force and SDSU and so I think we are not overlooking them. We should win, but any conference road win is a tough one.

    I hear all of your Cougars at the Huntsman Center! Sounds great.

    Ki

  • Greg B said:

    Wow Jimmer! That was amazing.
    The Utes are done for this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if a certain coach is looking for a new job very soon.

  • J 2 said:

    Did that just happen? A-MA-ZING! A week off to heal and prep for the next few games…. what a way to begin that week off.
    Go Cougs!

  • BoomerCougar said:

    Great win, great preformance! Props to all the cougar fans there, we overpowered and embarassed the stinkin Utes at their own building! The only concern at this point for the cougars is how we got outrebounded and our interior play is still lacking. Davies has got to play smarter and avoid foul trouble, and the news about Chris Collinsworth is very disappointing. Does anyone have any updates about his status? I’ve heard season ending knee surgery is looking likely.

  • Geoff J said:

    Nice job on your prediction on that game Jim. They hung with us for a little while and then they got Jimmered.

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