Kevin Gemmell of the ESPN Pac-12 blog tells us why the Utah Utes have a shot in the conference's South division.

He writes, "For starters, they are one of the few Pac-12 teams that got together and decided that playing defense might be a good idea. The offense, though sporadic (and a little undisciplined — seven false starts already), has shown the potential to be explosive. They can run the football. They can stop the run. And they can get to the quarterback. When your team checks those boxes, it has a fighting chance."

December basketball events featuring BYU and Utah get good grades

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports graded the college basketball tournaments and events in December.

The Hoophall Los Angeles Invitational with BYU as one of the participants was given a B+. "BYU is going to give Gonzaga a run in the WCC this year, too. USC will be in need of a quality win here. Definitely endorse this one," Norlander writes.

The Diamond Head Classic that the Utes are playing in also received a solid grade. He gave the tournament a B, saying, "San Diego State and Utah are probably going to be the two best teams here."

BYU-Princeton mentioned as sleeper game in Tip-Off Marathon

SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness writers did a roundtable to discuss the games they like in ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon, and the BYU game with Princeton is looked at as one of the sleeper games to look forward to.

"Princeton-BYU can be a really great game. The Tigers finished 65th in KenPom last year and bring back almost everybody. BYU had some big wins last year, but lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer. I’m also looking forward to how Princeton handles BYU’s uptempo style of play. The Tigers are a very good defensive team, but the Cougars have been able to put up 80-90 points with little effort," writes Russell Steinberg.

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.