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What each Utah college basketball team needs to do to get into the NCAA tournament

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Utah State's Tim Duryea, Utah Valley's Mark Pope, Weber State's Randy Rahe, BYU's Dave Rose, Southern Utah's Todd Simon and Utah's Larry Krystkowiak.

Utah State’s Tim Duryea, Utah Valley’s Mark Pope, Weber State’s Randy Rahe, BYU’s Dave Rose, Southern Utah’s Todd Simon and Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak.

Deseret News and Associated Press


This story is sponsored by Southern Utah University. Learn more about Southern Utah University.

With March Madness just a little over a month away, it's time to take a look at where Utah's six Division I basketball teams stand as they hope for a ticket to the Big Dance.

Unfortunately, at the moment, all six teams are on the outside looking in.

That doesn't mean that there's not a path to the NCAA tournament for all six of these teams. Everybody from SUU to UVU to BYU to Utah all have a way to get to the Big Dance. Here's a look at everybody's paths:

Southern Utah University

Record: 9-13 (3-8 Big Sky)

RPI: 260 KenPom: 270

Route to the Big Dance: Win the Big Sky Tournament or go home. Given that SUU is currently tied for No. 9 out of 12 in the Big Sky, that doesn't seem likely.

Weber State University

Record: 16-7 (9-2 Big Sky)

RPI: 187 KenPom: 146

Route to the Big Dance: The Wildcats won't have the kind of résumé to be in contention for an at-large bid come March, so they'll have to win the Big Sky's automatic bid as well. That's a bit more likely for Weber State than SUU as the Wildcats are No. 2 in the conference behind Montana. Weber State fans should circle March 1 on their calendars as that's when the Wildcats will travel to Montana. While technically only the tournament games matter at this point for getting into the NCAA tournament, it will be good to see how these two teams matchup head to head.

Utah State University

Record: 13-12 (6-6 Mountain West)

RPI: 147 KenPom: 139

Route to the Big Dance: The Aggies' transition to the Mountain West from the WAC hasn't been kind. After going to the NCAA tournament four times and the NIT twice during Utah State's eight seasons in the WAC, the Aggies haven't been to the postseason yet as a member of the Mountain West. They have a decent win against UNLV, but nothing near good enough to be in contention for an at-large bid. They'll need to win the MWC tournament to get to the Big Dance, and right now they sit at No. 7 in the conference. However, they're only 1.5 games behind third-place Wyoming.

Utah Valley University

Record: 17-7 (6-2 WAC)

RPI: 91 KenPom: 95

UVU got a taste of what playing at the Elite Eight or even Final Four level is like when it started the season with back-to-back games against Kentucky and Duke. However, the Wolverines didn't beat either team and really doesn't have a good enough résumé to pick up an at-large bid. If they're going to get into the Big Dance, they need to take the automatic bid from current WAC leader New Mexico State. The bad news is that UVU lost 86-59 to the Aggies the last time they played.

Brigham Young University

Record: 19-7 (8-5 WCC)

RPI: 78 KenPom: 58

Losing to LMU pretty much ended any reasonable chance of BYU picking up an at-large bid. Yes, the Cougars still have a game against Gonzaga at home, but even that probably won't be enough of a résumé booster to pick up a third bid for the WCC. BYU now has to fight to hold on to 3rd place to give it the best chance of avoiding Saint Mary's in the WCC semifinals. Would two wins over the Zags, including one at the WCC tournament, be enough? Possibly, but it would be far from a sure thing with the bad LMU loss on the résumé. The only sure way to the Big Dance would be to pick up a WCC tournament title, which BYU has yet to do since joining the conference.

University of Utah

Record: 14-9 (6-6 Pac-12)

RPI: 58 KenPom: 69

The Utes have a nice win over Arizona State on their résumé, but little else. The Utes have a few more opportunities for quality wins against Washington and USC left on the schedule. Unlike every other team on this list, there's a decent chance Utah can pick up an at-large bid without having to win the Pac-12 tournament. They would need to pick up at least one more quality win and at least have a winning record in conference, and they would need to make it to at least the Pac-12 semifinals. An at-large bid is still possible, but Utah really needs to shine down the stretch to hear its name on Selection Sunday.