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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Games around the nation could affect the Utes’ chances come tourney time

March Madness is less than a month away and the masses at the U are finally beginning to realize again that basketball is a sport.

Before the Arizona game, it was just pitiful to see the lack of fans at the Huntsman Center, but winning always leads to people showing up.

Barring a complete collapse, the Utes are going to be in the NCAA tournament, which means Ute fans finally need to understand what is going on around the nation and where the Utes could end up in the tourney.

If the Utes win out, they could probably only get to a No. 4 seed. A No. 3 seed would be a long shot, considering the teams that are already vying for those spots.

The teams the Utes don’t need to worry about in terms of seeding include Illinois, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse, Kentucky, Boston College, Duke and Oklahoma State. Why?

Chances are the Utes will not pass any of these teams up in regards to seeding and there are probably a few more teams the Utes are destined to stay behind.

Even if any of these teams lose in their respective conference tournaments – of which a few will, they won’t drop that far.

The teams the Utes will worry about, however, include a good number of big- name teams.

Barring collapses, Washington and Arizona should be well ahead of the Utes, but teams such as UCONN, Texas, Gonzaga, Alabama, Maryland and Iowa could give the Utes headaches on Selection Sunday.

As of now, ESPN has the Utes as a No. 5 seed and how far they climb will largely hinge on how the teams ahead of them do, since the Utes don’t have the strength of schedule to jump teams if the higher-ranked teams don’t lose.

So what teams have a higher propensity to lose, effectively giving the Utes a better chance to move up?

No. 15 Pittsburgh defeated Syracuse a couple games ago by 7 at home, but will finish the regular season at Syracuse, which will be tough.

UCONN plays three games versus top-10 teams to close out the season and also go to Pittsburgh so they will probably lose at least one of those games. But the Huskies will need to lose two or three of those games in order to get out of the Utes’ hair.

In the ACC, Maryland is up and down. They first beat Duke in Durham, followed it with a win against Georgia Tech, then laid an egg at Clemson.

They still have to play Duke and North Carolina and two losses could give the Utes the edge over the Terps.

In the Big 12, Texas will finish the season with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. If they win both of those games, then they could easily jump the Utes and get a higher seed.

In the SEC, Alabama could easily finish ahead of the Utes by winning out, since they don’t face any ranked opponents for the rest of the regular season.

The toughest game will probably be at Florida. A bad loss in the conference tourney, coupled with a Ute MWC tourney win, would give the Utes the advantage.

There are probably about 80,007 more scenarios that will affect the Utes seeding, but it is getting more and more interesting as the season winds down.

Pay attention.

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