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Where Utah’s NCAA Tournament résumé stands after sweep by Arizona schools

An updated look at the Runnin’ Utes’ complete NCAA Tournament résumé, and where each of the seven remaining regular-season opponents rank in NET.

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Utah Runnin’ head coach Craig Smith yells to the team during a game against Arizona State at the Huntsman Center

Utah Runnin’ head coach Craig Smith yells to the team during a game against Arizona State at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2023.

Marielle Scott, Deseret News

Utah’s 85-77 loss to Arizona State on Saturday night hurt its NCAA Tournament résumé as the Runnin’ Utes try to make it to the Big Dance for the first time since 2016.

The loss to Arizona State, which entered the game ranked in 135 in the NET rankings (and rose to 128 after the win over the Utes), counts as a Quadrant 3 loss for Utah, its first of the season. That’s a résumé stain Utah wanted to avoid as it heads down the stretch.

“Every day in practice, every day in film, every day in the weight room. Let’s be at our very best and if we are, then good things will happen. I know we’re still in a good position.” — Utah coach Craig Smith

“This is a tough loss obviously for a lot of respects, conference standings,” Utah coach Craig Smith said.

“We’ve been so good at home and we lose both, but we have seven regular-season games left. We’re guaranteed one game in the conference tournament, so we know we have eight competitions left at a minimum, hopefully a lot more, but we just got to lock into the present and be where our feet are at.”

Prior to the two losses to No. 8 Arizona and Arizona State this weekend, most bracketologists had Utah solidly in as a No. 8 or No. 9 seed. The loss to Arizona State, while not great, doesn’t singlehandedly knock the Utes out of tournament contention, but it makes the road a lot harder, with a lot less margin for error.

The Utes have a record of 15-9, and now have a losing Pac-12 record of 6-7. As of Sunday afternoon, Utah’s NET ranking is 47, down from 36 before the Arizona State loss, which is on the bubble. According to bracketologists.com, teams with a NET ranking of 37 or higher were all invited to the NCAA Tournament in 2022 and 2023.

The bad news for Utah is that it goes on the road for five of its final regular-season games, including three consecutive games away from Salt Lake City starting Thursday — at USC, at UCLA, then a trip to Colorado.

The Utes have struggled mightily on the road, losing all five of their Pac-12 road games, with their only road win — a 78-71 victory at Saint Mary’s — doing wonders for their résumé.

Utah doesn’t have to go undefeated to close out the regular season to secure an at-large NCAA berth, but it’s going to require quite a few wins. Specifically, the Utes can’t afford another Quad 3 loss, so they have to beat Stanford and Cal at home and Oregon State on the road. Another Quad 1 win at Colorado or at Oregon would help pad the résumé.

“I just know we got to lock in. This is a little bit clichéish ... but I just worry about the next opponent and worry about our team being the very best that we can be on a day-to-day basis,” Smith said. “Every day in practice, every day in film, every day in the weight room. Let’s be at our very best and if we are, then good things will happen. I know we’re still in a good position.”

Here’s an updated look at Utah’s complete NCAA Tournament résumé, and where each of the seven remaining regular-season opponents rank in NCAA’s NET rankings.


Quadrant 1 wins

  • Vs. BYU (8 NET ranking), 73-69.
  • At Saint Mary’s (15 NET ranking), 78-71.
  • Neutral site vs. Wake Forest (36 NET ranking), 77-70.

Quadrant 1 losses

  • Neutral site vs. Houston (1 NET ranking), 76-66.
  • Vs. Arizona (3 NET ranking), 105-99 (3OT).
  • At Arizona (3 NET ranking), 92-73.
  • At Washington State (40 NET ranking), 79-57.
  • Neutral site vs. St. John’s (45 NET ranking), 91-82.
  • At Washington (69 NET ranking), 98-73.

Quadrant 2 wins

  • Vs. Colorado (39 NET ranking), 73-68.
  • Vs. Washington State (40 NET ranking), 80-58.
  • Vs. Oregon (61 NET ranking), 80-77.
  • Vs. Washington (69 NET ranking), 95-90.

Quadrant 2 losses

  • At Stanford (99 NET ranking), 79-73.
  • At Arizona State (128 NET ranking), 82-70.

Quadrant 3 wins

  • Vs. Eastern Washington (114 NET ranking), 101-66.
  • Vs. UCLA (112 NET ranking), 90-44.
  • Neutral Site vs. Hawaii (173 NET ranking), 79-66.

Quadrant 3 losses

  • Vs. Arizona State (128 NET ranking), 85-77.

Quadrant 4 wins

  • Vs. Oregon State (171 NET ranking), 74-47.
  • Vs. Utah Valley (180 NET ranking), 76-62.
  • Vs. Southern Utah (245 NET ranking), 88-86
  • Vs. UC Riverside (258 NET ranking), 82-53
  • Vs. Bellarmine (319 NET ranking), 85-43

Quadrant 4 losses

None


NET Rankings of remaining teams on Utah’s schedule

Quadrant 1

  • At Colorado (39 NET ranking)
  • At Oregon (61 NET ranking)

Quadrant 2

  • At USC (108 NET ranking)
  • At UCLA (112 NET ranking)

Quadrant 3

  • Vs. Stanford (99 NET ranking)
  • Vs. Cal (123 NET ranking)
  • At Oregon State (171 NET ranking)

Quadrant 4

None