Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010, 6:00 PM PST
Jon M. Huntsman Center
It is now the time. The moment Ute fans have been waiting for. Today is the BYU vs. Utah game. This time, in our house.
After a disappointing and mediocre season, this game means a lot to the Utes. A win over the No. 14 Cougars would ease the pain a lot of Utah fans have felt all season. A win will pull the Utes back over .500 on the season with just CSU left on the schedule.
A loss drops the Utes below .500 on the season. It would also mean BYU swept Utah in hoops and beat them in football. More importantly, a loss means that BYU will have tied the all-time series at 150 wins. Not a good thing for Utah fans.
This game is very important for BYU also. After losing the de-facto MWC regular season championship game to New Mexico, they need to avoid a "bad loss" at Utah to improve their tournament seeding. A win clinches the No. 2 in the MWC tournament.
The big question for this game is how will Jimmer Fredette play? He is expected to play but will likely not be at full strength. The Utes will try to slow him down like New Mexico did with tough defense.
Earlier this season, the 3-point shot killed the Utes when they played BYU in Provo. BYU went 7-14 on 3s and Fredette went 4-5 from 3-point territory.
Expect a crazy atmosphere at the Huntsman Center, where they are reporting a rare sellout. It will be Utah's first sellout since the 2007-2008 season. The young Utah team really feeds off the crowd, especially Marshall Henderson.
To win this game the Utes need to play focused and tough defense, just like the Lobos did. Stopping the three will be important as well. Utah will need outside shots to fall, especially Henderson's. When he plays well, the team usually wins.