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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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Kamrani: Pixie dust could be what the Utes need in Vegas

By Chris Kamrani

Think of Utah head coach Jim Boylen as Peter Pan. Besides the amusing notion of Boylen wearing the forest-green, form-fitting outfit, the analogy can actually play out to be sort of an actuality.

Boylen has seen his first year on the hill play out quite typically — up and down, up and down. His frantic, inspiring attempts to get his “Lost Boys,” better known as the Utes, to take a delicate dose of fairy dust couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

After losing yet another conference heartbreaker — this time at the hands of UNLV — the Lost Boys are looking to take flight and prepare to scrape for their lives.

After an impressive mid-season, four-game winning streak, the Utes were overwhelmed at the battle against those damned pirates of Provo. That critical defeat sent the Lost Boys into a tailspin that transformed their conference record from a respectable 6-4 to a disappointing 7-9.

Now that the regular season is over and done with, it’s time for this crew of young guns to fly, fight and crow.

To extend the Peter Pan analogy further, take a look at one of the Peter Pan spin-off movies.

In the film “Hook,” Peter Pan is a 40-something, blood-sucking lawyer who returns to Neverland in an attempt to save his children, resurrect happy thoughts and settle unfinished business, all within less than a week’s time.

Ditto for the Utes. The problem is that these Runnin’ Utes must find those rousing happy thoughts to catapult them into an upper echelon come this weekend.

“This is a growing process,” Boylen has said on countless accounts. But for this season’s intents and purposes, Boylen (aka Pan) needs to treat this next week as a week-long growth process.

The pirate armada awaiting the Utes in Las Vegas is stronger, more talented and hath no mercy upon its adversaries.

Now the No. 6 seed in the MWC tournament, the Utes have the ability to make an impressive run toward the tournament crown. Despite all the negatives over the past five games, the positives from learning how to take a loss could be strongly weighed with this team.

Sophomore point-man Luka Drca has been quarterbacking this team during the past few weeks and has a tremendous feel for the game. Center Luke Nevill has adjusted to his role coming off the bench and has excelled in finishing near the rim and staying out of foul trouble.

The question is, which Lost Boy is going to lead the team into battle come tournament time? Everyone knows the Runnin’ Utes’ Peter Pan will be geared up for battle. But unlike past quarrels, Pan can only do so much to help the Lost Boys achieve victory.

At some point, Utah’s Lost Boys are going to have to learn how to fight. And if all goes according to plan, Utah will have an uphill battle with games against New Mexico, UNLV and BYU likely to fill their immediate future.

If Utah can get past that MWC gauntlet, it will be well on its way to the second star on the right and straight on till morning — in other words, they’ll be punching a fairy-tale ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

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