In the not-so-distant past, the basketball powers were exceedingly kind to the Beehive State. Utah was represented by multiple universities in the NCAA's respective Big Dances.
This is not one of those years. Only Brigham Young University's men and the University of Utah women received invitations to their respective NCAA tournaments this year. BYU (27-7) will play Texas A&M (24-10) in Anaheim today. Meanwhile, the Utah women will play Purdue University on its home court in Layfayette, Ind., on Sunday. Both BYU and the U. were eighth seeds, which BYU viewed as a reasonable ranking and the nationally ranked Utah women considered disappointing given the team's 27-4 record.
Meanwhile, Utah State University posted its ninth consecutive post-season tournament bid under coach Stew Morrill. The 24-10 Aggies, selected to play in the National Invitational Tournament, played Illinois State University last night on its home court in Normal, Ill.
The University of Utah men were invited to play in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational. No, it's not the Big Dance, but it is the university's first post-season play since 2005, which should provide good experience for head coach Jim Boylen's young team. The Utes, 17-14 overall this season, have only two seniors.
Not to be forgotten, Salt Lake Community College was one of 16 teams to advance to the NJCAA championship tourney. The 30-3 Bruins beat Vincennes, Ind., Tuesday morning in opening play in Hutchinson, Kan., advancing to the Elite Eight. The fourth-seeded Bruins could be Utah's best bet at winning a championship. SLCC was slated to play Paris (Texas) Junior College in the tourney's second round Wednesday evening.
Continued success to the Bruins and all other Utah universities involved in post-season play. These institutions are to be congratulated for their winning seasons and thanked for giving Utahns an opportunity to be part of March Madness.