After seeing Utah beat USC and Cal, back-to-back in the Pac-12 tournament, the temptation is to overrate this. Utah is still just 15-17.
But don’t underrate it, either.
Turnarounds happen quickly in basketball.
While it’s rare to see football programs change overnight, a basketball team only needs a couple of guys like, oh, Jordan Loveridge, and things can change quickly. BYU went 1-25 in 1996-97. Steve Cleveland followed with two losing years (9-21, 12-16) before jumping to 22-11 and 24-9. So in his third year things took hold.
Stew Morrill went a so-so 15-13 his first year at USU before going on a 12-year streak of winning 23 or more games.
By winning two nights in a row, the Utes have gone from unspeakably bad last year (6-25) to not terrible this year. Last year Utah won just three conference games, this year five — plus the two tournament wins this week.
Coach Larry Krystkowiak — in his second season — doesn’t have the Utes back to their old Majerus form, but he has them thinking they’re supposed to win games. That in itself is a turnaround of significance.
No matter what happens the rest of the way in the Pac-12 tournament, the Utes should be worth monitoring next season.