How the NCAA Tournament will affect Utah State basketball
Utah State’s season could be over with its last game Saturday night.
The Beehive State is scheduled to host a nationally televised matchup against Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m.
Utah State won’t have to worry about losing the No. 6 seed and its No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Jazz will likely have to finish with a loss to the Cowboys to have a shot at the Big 12 title.
That’s a pretty good outcome for a team that has already made a splash in the first half of the season, with a win Saturday against rival Colorado State in its first-ever meeting.
Utah has won 11 straight and is ranked No. 7 in the preseason AP poll.
Utah’s first win over a ranked opponent came against Kansas on Jan. 11.
The loss marked the second consecutive game in which the Jazz were unable to advance past the first round.
The team’s season is also tied for ninth in the country, trailing Kansas State (10-5) and Texas (11-5).
This game will be played at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., a venue that was previously home to the Coliseum and Coliseum Stadium.
Utah is still seeking a first-round bye, which it could do by winning its second game of the regular season at No. 9 Arizona on Saturday.
Arizona is playing host to No. 11 UCLA.
That game is also slated to be televised on CBS, with the Pac-12 champion going up against the defending national champion.
If the Wildcats win their remaining two games, Utah will have to play an all-Pac-12 tournament team to secure the first berth.
Utah hasn’t lost to a Pac-10 team since losing to UCLA in the 2014 Pac-11 Tournament semifinals.
The last time the Jazz lost to an opponent from the conference was in 2013.
Utah will get a chance to close out its schedule with a matchup with the UCLA Bruins on Jan 1.
Utah could also face Oregon on Jan 4, as the Ducks are set to open the season with a home-and-home series against UCLA and Oregon State.
Oregon is in the midst of a six-game winning streak and is set to host its home opener against Arizona on Jan 6.
The Ducks are also set to play host to Washington on Jan 10.
Arizona State will host Colorado State on Jan 12, with Arizona State being the No.”3 seed in that matchup.
The Wildcats have a chance at clinching the top seed, but the odds of that happening are low.
Utah finished the regular-season ranked No, 20th in the AP poll and finished No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll.
That was the worst finish in the league for the Jazz, who were No. 2 in the Associated Press and No. 13 in the coaches poll.
The odds of Utah winning the Big Ten title are about 1 in 4,500, according to OddsShark.com.
The season finale is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 3:30 a.m., with ESPN and ESPN Deportes televising the game.
Utah opens the Pac 12 tournament with a two-game home-opener against California on Jan 3, with Pac-13 teams playing each other at home.
Utah should be favored in the opener, which could help boost its chances of making the NCAA tourney.
If Utah plays the Bruins, it would play Oklahoma State in the semifinals.
Utah defeated Oklahoma on Jan 24, with No. 19 Oklahoma State leading 3-0.
The Cowboys are ranked No of No. 5 in the Pac 9, but they lost to the Ducks in the Big East Tournament semifinals on Jan 14.
The Eagles are also ranked No-2 in the poll, but are currently tied for the No 3 seed.
The second game is set for Jan. 10, with both teams playing at 7 p.n. on ESPN.
If both teams play their way into the semifinals, Utah would have to defeat UCLA in San Francisco on Jan 11.
Utah would then host No. 14 UCLA, who are currently the No 1 seed in Pac-8 play.
The game would be broadcast on ESPNU.
The winner of the game would advance to the conference championship game against No. 15 UCLA.
Utah needs a win on Jan 2 to clinch a No. 1 seed and potentially face the No 4 seed and No 5 seed in Los Angeles.
The Pac-16 tournament begins on Feb. 2 and is scheduled from Feb. 3 to Feb. 10.
Utah might have a slight advantage in that series, as UCLA is set in its conference schedule.
The two teams will play in the conference finals in Los, Calif.
on Feb 11.
If either team wins that game, it will then play the conference champions in San Jose on Feb 13.