A large picture of Utah forward Hanno Mottola graces the cover of the Sports Illustrated NCAA tournament edition, which hits the stands this week.
So, of course, there go the Utes' chances of going far in the NCAA tournament right down the drain.Sports fans are well aware of the "SI cover jinx," which seems to befall players and teams that make the cover of the nation's most prestigious sports magazine. It seems as soon as a player makes the SI cover, he or his team is doomed to failure shortly after.
Mottola was also featured in a January story in Sports Illustrated about foreign players on college basketball teams. In fact, the main picture for the story was of Mottola grabbing a rebound. But inside stories don't count in the "jinx."
The 6-foot-10 Mottola came to Utah from Helsinki, Finland, last year. He backed up all-American Keith Van Horn as a freshman and this year as a starter has averaged 12.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
But perhaps the jinx won't take full effect, because the picture of Mottola is just one of seven different regional covers of Sports Illustrated this week.