Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Virginia Tech, New Mexico, and Utah among week's biggest losers

Duke v Virginia Tech
Duke v Virginia Tech / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages
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Utah Utes 

The Utes looked to be somewhat safely in the field just a few weeks ago. But in a Pac-12 where there’s only one clear-cut “good” team (Arizona), losses to anyone else could be an issue for a team’s resume. And that’s where they’re at, having lost 4 of the last 5 games.

This past week, Utah was at home to take on the Arizona schools. Up first was Arizona State, a team that started 4-0 in league play but then lost 6 of 7 to fall out of the at-large picture. That makes them a spoiler and that’s what happened to the Utes, as the home team lost 85-77 on Saturday.

But the big reason for being a “loser” was the missed opportunity against Arizona at home. Despite being up 16 points at halftime, the Utes blew the lead and in three overtimes, lost 105-99. Branden Carlson had 27 points and 15 rebounds, while Deivon Smith went for his second triple-double of the season. But that was a Quad 1 game they had in their hands, making them 3-6 versus Quad 1 opponents.

This puts a ton of pressure on the Utes to win games on the road, which is five of the last seven opponents. Up first are the Los Angeles schools, followed by Colorado next weekend. If they don’t win these games, Utah could slide to the other side of the bubble.