Matt Gade, Deseret News
Utah Utes forward Jordan Loveridge (21) works his way to the basket as Brigham Young Cougars guard Frank Bartley IV (24) defends during a game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
Jordan Loveridge, the best player in the state of Utah. Check.
The Utes, the best team. Check.
Before its game against Utah, BYU had played the likes of Iowa State, Wichita State and UMass, who are all currently ranked in the top 25. The Utes looked better than all of them in a dominating 81-64 victory over the Cougars Saturday night.
College basketball can be a strange game. The Cougars were coming off a 48-point thrashing of Prairie View A&M. The Utes were coming off a game against Idaho State that they had to rally to win.
There was no rallying needed for Utah in this one, as the home team led big from start to finish. It was a perfect storm for the Cougars. All their weaknesses seemed to show at once, just as their in-state rivals were playing out of their minds.
Just about everything that could go wrong for BYU did Saturday night at the Huntsman Center: missed free throws, foul trouble, lack of depth, lack of quickness, toughness and passion on defense, and wild play from Matt Carlino.
Meanwhile the Utes, much to the delight of the energized home crowd, validated a number of things with their blowout win of the Cougars: their early season record, their rebuilding strategy, their head coach and their largely unheralded group of players.
It was a tremendous victory for the Utes.
Here are the grades for each team's position group and other aspects of the game.
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: email@example.com or @nategagon.