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Utah basketball makes Andy Katz’s way-too-early Power 36 rankings for next season, no BYU or Utah State

Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (1) celebrates a three-pointer against the Stanford Cardinal in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.
Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (1) celebrates a three-pointer against the Stanford Cardinal in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Both BYU and Utah State were destined for the NCAA Tournament before the COVID-19 pandemic brought a cancellation of the annual event.

It’s not the Cougars or Aggies, though, that made NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz’s Power 36 basketball rankings for the 2020-21 season.

That distinction belongs to Utah, as the Utes come in at No. 34 in Katz’s rankings released Wednesday.

“The Utes had their moments this past season where they looked like they could make an NCAA tournament run. But inconsistencies prevented them from being in position. Still, the roster has major pieces back that could pose problems in the Pac-12 with Timmy Allen, Rylan Jones and Both Gach as all legit All-Pac-12 candidates,” Katz wrote.

Allen and Gach are set to be juniors next season, while Jones will be a sophomore. On Monday, it was reported Gach will declare for the NBA draft, though he could still return to the Utes next season after testing the draft waters.

Utah Utes guard Rylan Jones (15) is fouled by Oregon State Beavers guard Antoine Vernon (13) in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Utah won 81-69.
Utah Utes guard Rylan Jones (15) is fouled by Oregon State Beavers guard Antoine Vernon (13) in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. Utah won 81-69.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

BYU, which finished this season ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press poll, was listed as one of 14 teams “on the bubble” just outside of Katz’s rankings, while Utah State was not mentioned.

The Cougars’ West Coast Conference compatriot, Gonzaga, is No. 1 in Katz’s rankings, with Baylor at No. 2.

Along with Utah, three other Pac-12 teams made the Power 36: UCLA at No. 19, Oregon at 23 and Stanford at 28.