Utah potentially headed to the NIT

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19 2014 10:55 p.m. MST

Utah's Jeremy Olsen (41) battles under the boards with Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski (35) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer, AP

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officially has two home games left to play this season — Sunday night against Arizona State and next Saturday afternoon against Colorado.

However, there may be more. Utah athletics director Dr. Chris Hill confirmed that university officials have filled out paperwork with the National Invitation Tournament to possibly host a game (and perhaps more) if the Utes are not selected to play in the NCAA tournament.

The prospect, thereof, has also led to a delayed start of the planned Huntsman Center renovations that were originally scheduled to begin with the tearing up of the basketball floor after the last gymnastics meet on March 15.

Hill said the bottom line is Utah is determined to participate in postseason play wherever possible.

“We want to have the opportunity to continue playing as much as we can,” Hill explained. “With such a young team it would be a tremendous benefit.”

McGILL HONORED: Utah honored Billy “The Hill” McGill during halftime ceremonies Wednesday night. McGill, who had a stellar career for the Utes that included averaging 38.8 points per game as a senior in 1961-62 and having his No. 12 jersey retired, will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor at next month’s conference tournament in Las Vegas.

“Any type of recognition like that is great,” McGill said before a pregame signing of his newly released autobiography. “ ... I love it and I’m glad they chose me.”

McGill added that Salt Lake City is like his second home after playing at the U. for four years.

“I’ve always loved the people at Utah,” he said.

Every year, one inductee from each school in the Pac-12 is added to the hall. Utah’s previous honorees were Arnie Ferrin (2012) and Keith Van Horn (2013).

“He’s a very gracious man and we’re excited to have him represent us,” Hill said. “He’s one of the greatest of all time.”

COMPLIMENTARY ‘CAT: In his weekly press conference, Arizona coach Sean Miller said the Utes were more than just a competitive team.

Larry Krystkowiak and his staff have really done a great job when you consider where their program was a couple of years ago,” he noted. “It’s amazing.”

BROTHERLY LOVE: Before Wednesday’s game with Arizona, Utah center Dallin Bachynski expressed happiness for the pivotal role his older brother Jordan played in Arizona State’s 69-66 double-overtime win over the Wildcats last Friday in Tempe, Ariz.

With the Sun Devils up by one in the closing seconds of the game, Jordan blocked a shot by T.J. McConnell that preserved a positive outcome for the home team.

“Oh wow, that was a big block. He’s had like three game-winning blocks now. That one was big,” said Dallin, who added that Jordan posted on Instagram after the game saying it was the “biggest play of my career and biggest win of my career.”

Dallin, who will square off against Jordan and ASU Sunday night in the Huntsman Center, emphasized that his older brother was ecstatic about it.

“I’m glad he was able to get the win,” Dallin said.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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