Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles (2) and Rudy Gobert (27) speak in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Salt Lake City. The Warriors won 106-99.


Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated's, The Crossover, handed out his awards for the NBA's first quarter or the season, and Utah's Rudy Gobert earned the defensive player of the year.

Speaking of Gobert, Golliver wrote, "One tell-tale sign of an elite playmaker is that he can carry an offense regardless of who surrounds him. The same logic holds true for elite defenders like Gobert, who has led the Jazz to a top-five defense despite a long list of injuries to key players and multiple new arrivals in the rotation."

After mentioning the Jazz's injury issues, Golliver continued, "His fearlessness protecting the rim and his activity around the protected circle have been major drivers in keeping the Jazz (15-10) afloat. Last year, Utah was lost without Gobert, when he was sidelined with a knee injury. This year, they’ve been buoyed by him."


Utah Jazz move up power rankings

John Schuhmann of NBA.com released his latest NBA power rankings, and the Utah Jazz moved up to No. 8.

Of the Jazz, Schuhmann wrote, "The Jazz have missed a total of 39 games from four starters, and all four missed Thursday's loss to Golden State. But the additions they made to their bench have paid off and the fifth starter has been much improved."

The Jazz also moved up one spot to No. 7 in Fansided's Hoops Habit Power Rankings done by Gerald Bourguet.


Cougars, Utes bowl games ranked

Alex Kirshner tasked a group of SB Nation writers to rank each bowl game based on watchability and then came up with a composite score. The games were then placed into categories based on their scores.

The BYU matchup with the Wyoming Cowboys in the Poinsettia Bowl came in as the top-ranked game in the 'Completely fine viewing options' section (tier three), with a composite score on 3.4. That score is good enough for the No. 12 ranking of the 40 bowl games.

Of the game between the former WAC and MWC rivals, Kirshner wrote, "The Poinsettia should be good, because BYU plays close games and Wyoming is all-around enjoyable."

The Foster Farms Bowl Between Utah and Indiana came in as the top game in a 'The hunt for diamonds in the rough' section (tier four), with a composite score of 2.4, making it the No. 24 ranked bowl game.