Is Utah Primed For A Pac-12 Champ Week Upset?

Utah Runnin' Utes player in action

Saturday, March 4, 2017 5:51 PM GMT

With just one game left to go before the Pac-12 Tournament, three teams have distinguished themselves from the rest of the conference. But are they worthwhile NCAAB picks?

Fountain Of Ute

The aforementioned three teams look better than they are because of the Pac-12's relatively weak schedule – again, the weakest among the six “power” conferences. Ken Pomeroy's efficiency stats tell the tale; they have UCLA ranked No. 12 overall, Oregon No. 17, and Arizona No. 22. Despite those numbers, the Bruins are tied as +600 co-favorites with North Carolina on Bovada's March Madness futures market as we go to press. Oregon is in the hunt at +1200, with Arizona not far behind at +1800.

The fourth-best team in the Pac-12 isn't even being considered for the Big Dance. The Utah Runnin' Utes are nowhere to be found on the NCAAB odds board, and they're not getting much love from the bracketologists. However, Pomeroy has Utah ranked No. 39 overall in efficiency, ahead of the No. 54 California Golden Bears and the No. 63 USC Trojans. Both those teams are on the right side of the Tournament bubble heading into Saturday's regular-season finales.

Every night is a great night to be a #Ute but some are better than others @Runnin_Utes over Cal 74-44 #GoUtes

— Jimmy Soto (@jimmysoto15) March 3, 2017


What can we tell you – it's Utah. The Utes are only in their sixth year as a Pac-12 member, after making the move from the Mountain West Conference. They're also in Year Six under head coach Larry Krystkowiak, who took over a stripped-down program and led it to the Sweet Sixteen just two seasons ago. We'll see how the Pac-12 Tourney schedule shakes out, but consider this: Utah narrowly lost 83-82 to UCLA in January as a 2.5-point home dog. Food for thought.

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