The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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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Miller: Loss stings for the Runnin’ Utes, and me


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Utah got welcomed to the madness on Friday — it wasn’t a kind greeting.

The mood in the Utes’ locker room after watching their tournament run end on a Joseph Young 35-foot three was predictable — quiet and somber. Players sat heads down and answered questions in voices barely above a whisper.

This one hurt.

Utah’s season isn’t over. The Utes are a shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament, which will be the first one for the program since 2009, but any future games, any future goals were drowned away with the splash of a net and the cheer of the Oregon crowd.


“It hurts, I would be lying to if I said that it didn’t,” Brandon Taylor said. “It hurts. I’m not thinking about the NCAA Tournament next weekend. It hurts. We really wanted to get to the championship. We really wanted to get to the championship.”

In my time as a student reporter at The Daily Utah Chronicle I’ve done a pretty good job at staying neutral. I covered the football team’s thrilling victories last season over UCLA and USC, and its crushing defeat to ASU and for the most part stayed emotionless.

This one was different. While talking with Delon Wright, with Jakob Poeltl and especially the emotional Taylor, I felt like I echoed their feelings — this one stung.

Hell, when I asked how the players were planning on getting over it, I think I may have been asking for advice myself.

“Honestly I don’t even know. Sleep it off I guess,” Wright said.

“This one hurts, but we’ll sleep it off and we’ll get over it,” Taylor said.

“Obviously I won’t forget about it for it for a very long time,” Poeltl said, “but we have a season to finish, and we can’t look back at things that happened in the past. We got to look forward. It’s just how sports is, sometimes you’re going to lose them. and sometimes you are going to lose them like that.”

One person’s joy is another’s agony. And while the Ducks were piling on Young in celebration Utah fans were standing in shock. It’s just the way it goes.

All those fans realize it’s a game, they realize in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter, but man in that moment, in that instance, it can be jubilation or it can hurt like hell.

It was a pro-Utah crowd in Vegas on Friday and for most of the second half the arena was filled with a nervous energy. Anytime Utah made a play, Oregon had an answer. Anytime the Utes made a big shot, the Ducks would fire one in themselves. It was like the basketball gods were toying with the Utes and their fans and did so until the last agonizing second.

To feel the joy of victory, one must also be able to endure the misery of defeat.

“It’s March madness and players make plays and he made a hell of a play and there’s not much we could do about that,” Taylor said.

It really was just that — one hell of a play.

Maybe the Utes have a few of their own in store in the coming weeks and can be on the other side next time, but until then Ute nation, let’s just do a lot of sleeping.

Welcome to March everyone, it can be pretty damn painful.

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