Rick Bowmer, AP
After winning their first Pac-12 South title, will Kyle Whittingham and the Utes be able to defend their title in 2019?

Ute Insiders Dirk Facer, Mike Sorensen and Trent Wood tackle a variety of topics on this week’s Ute Insiders podcast. Among them:

• Will Utah be the clear favorite to win the Pac-12 South title next fall?

• Who will be the Utes’ new offensive coordinator?

• Was last week’s strong showing in Arizona a sign of things to come for Larry Krystkowiak’s squad?

• Are the Red Rocks deep enough to contend for a national title?

• Is the high-flying Utah women’s basketball team strong enough to earn an NCAA bid and make some noise this spring?

That and more on this week’s episode.

Find and subscribe to this and other podcasts from the Deseret News at DeseretNews.com/Podcasts. Or find us on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the episode. It's been edited for clarity.

Dirk Facer: Coming up on this edition of the Deseret News Ute Insiders podcast, we talk about the Holiday Bowl, we talk about basketball, we talk about gymnastics. Mike Lageschulte of the University of Utah athletic department talks about March Madness coming back to Salt Lake. This and more on the Deseret News Ute Insiders podcast.

Welcome to another edition of the Deseret News Ute Insiders podcast. I'm Dirk Facer, along with Mike Sorensen and Trent Wood. Guys, how were the holidays?

Trent Wood: They were great. Can't complain.

Mike Sorensen: Same for me.

DF: Although, Trent, we do have to say for the record that you went home to Florida and you got ill.

TW: I had a wonderful time and then I got sick because it's that time of the year and that was awful, but I'm all good now.

DF: Trent could not lose 20 pounds, but he did lose 20 pounds and if you can share the secret with us — probably isn't worth it, the way you lost it.

TW: I just didn't eat food for four days. So if you just lay there and don't eat anything.

DF: That's out of the question, that's not gonna happen. Speaking of holidays, obviously the Holiday Bowl — everything was going well for one half and in the third quarter things got ugly. Mike, what do you think happened?

MS: It started raining too much and the Utes couldn't handle it. That was part of it, Utah couldn't hold on to the ball, for crying out loud. Of course, both teams were out there, but Utah just turned the ball over four times, turned into four touchdowns, and that was the whole difference in the game. And after that they just couldn't get back and get in the game and they just kind of gave up almost. It was just a bad quarter.

DF: Been a long time, I think, since I've seen a quarter like that with the Utes. How about you Mike?

MS: Oh yeah, I can't remember. And the coach said that. Coach (Whittingham) has been doing that for 30 some odd years in his career, he's never had a quarter like that. So it's a bit of a fluke in a way, but Utah could still have recovered, come back and made a game of it. But they just didn't seem to have the fortitude to do it.

DF: Trent, do you think a lot of the blame on that was Jason Shelley? Or were there are a lot of guys that couldn't keep their hands on the ball and protect it?

TW: You know, I think it was a whole team failure. I don't think you can put it on Jason Shelley. He played great in the first half and, yeah, he made some mistakes in the second half, but it was also other guys dropping the ball, people not being where they were supposed to be. I don't think it was all on him.

DF: Mike, do you think Shelley is a viable starting quarterback for next season, in case (Tyler) Huntley gets hurt again? Can they rely on Jason Shelley? Can he lead them to the Pac-12 championship?

MS: I think so. I mean, he showed that he could do it this year at times. Obviously you don't want him to be your No. 1 guy at this point, Huntley should be No. 1. Shelley though, the fact that he played four or five games, did pretty well in most of them, I think he can take over. The question is who's your third quarterback? Because you know, if one guy gets hurt you got to have another backup behind the other guy in case he gets hurt. They're in pretty good shape with him with although I think Huntley would be your your No. 1 guy.

TW: I'd argue that Jason Shelley's first half against Northwestern was the best half of any quarterback this year for Utah. He played incredible in the first half. It just all fell apart in the second.

DF: Yep. And as they say, you've got to play 60 minutes. What about the return of Zack Moss and Leki Fotu and Julian Blackmon and Bradlee Anae coming back next season? Does that make Utah the without a doubt favorite to win the South next year?

MS: I think it's huge because I think all of us — it seemed like it was just a foregone conclusion that Moss wasn't coming back. And then everybody just kept talking like this will be his last game and everything else and so that was a very pleasant surprise to have him back. And then have two of your top defensive linemen coming back, I mean that would have been a bit of a hole to fill for those guys. But yeah I think that if you look at the league, they definitely should be the favorite in the South. I don't know if you can say they're the favorite over Washington and Washington State in the North, you know, there's some good teams up there. But definitely they should be the South favorites going into this next year.

DF: You know I've been kind of torn on that, because I just can't believe USC will have another year like they had. They get USC-type players there, a lot of talent. Trent, do you see USC as the team to beat or do you see Utah?

TW: I mean, they still need an offensive coordinator, too. Theirs just left to go became the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals so I don't know. Utah seems to be the most experienced team in the South and you could say probably in the Pac-12, just because Washington and Washington State are losing lots of players from those teams. USC is always talented, they probably have more talented players than Utah, but I'd say Utah is more experienced and have played together longer.

MS: And I'm not real sold on Clay Helton as a great coach. He really hasn't done tremendous since he's been there and so even if they have the talent maybe that's part of the reason they haven't succeeded as much as they should have.

DF: We talked about the guys Utah has coming back, but let's talk about the guys Utah is losing. You know, losing Chase Hansen and losing Cody Barton, then youv'e got to get two new safeties back there. On defense, there's four big holes to fill right there. I realize at linebacker, arguably, they can restock. And then you look at the offensive line and they need to find a new center, they lost their left tackle. There's some key losses that Utah has that I think a lot of people are overlooking, and that's kind of why I don't see them as necessarily a clear-cut favorite. But obviously they do have a little more experience coming back than USC. What do you think, Trent, about the holes they're leaving?

TW: I think the offensive line is the most important one. Utah seems to reload on defense, like you talked about, it seems like they have guys they can just plug in, and you have to believe their secondary will be OK. But the offensive line struggled at times this year and they're losing those guys. I think if you need to be worried about something with Utah, it's do they have an offensive line?

DF: And to lose three guys, the right guard, left tackle, center, pretty big holes, Mike.

MS: I agree totally with Trent because to me, that was probably the most disappointing part of the team this year. Especially those last couple games, they just couldn't open holes for the guys and it was just so stagnant. Obviously they didn't have Moss, but the offensive line with all those seniors and stuff, you'd think they could open holes and make a little bit of running game. Because that's what killed them in their last two games, the lack of running. So hopefully there's a couple guys that can jump up and fill in those holes for them. They do have a couple guys that played, like (Nick) Ford, he played quite a bit and a couple other guys in the wings. So they might be OK there. But they just need to figure that one out for next year for sure.

DF: Now there's obviously a big coaching vacancy, they need to find a new offensive coordinator. And at the risk of the announcement coming out maybe before this podcast gets posted, let's just jump in. It seems to be four guys that are most prominently mentioned: Jim Harding, who is already on the staff. I've heard Robert Anae from Virginia as a possibility. Andy Ludwig from Vanderbilt's a possibility, and Steve Sarkisian, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons and USC and Washington. Do you guys see a good fit in that group? Or do you think they might go somewhere else?

MS: I like Ludwig a lot. He was here 10 years ago, he was here for four years, he had success and like most coaches that they're not doing things perfectly, the fans want him out of there. But I liked the guy, he wasn't very media-friendly and everything like that, but you know the guy's been around,, he's played lot, he's been a lot of different jobs. I don't know if that's good or not, but he has a lot of experience. He's in his mid 50s now, he's from Utah. I covered him in prep football back in the early 1980s at Bonneville High School, so you know if he wants to come back home and maybe stick around and make this his home for the next several years and retire here. Rather than get a Sarkisian or someone like that, I'm afraid he would jump at the next job in a year so, go back to the NFL. And then Harding, I don't know, I wasn't that impressed when he took over two or three years ago. And I think he's probably just better doing the line. So my choice would be Ludwig, of those four.

TW: And I'd argue Harding is probably the safest bet because he can continue the momentum they had from Troy Taylor. And yeah, he wasn't great before, but he's now had chance to be with those players in that system. And I just feel like — their offense was not bad this year, and so if you hire him as a coordinator you hopefully will be able to keep that momentum going.

DF: Yeah, I kind of agree with both. Andy Ludwig is a great guy and local guy, but remember he did leave under some circumstances where he just didn't want to be here anymore. And I realize the fans were on his case a little bit and all that. But he did post some great numbers here. It's just whether he can forgive some of the things that happened here to him before, whether he'd want to come back. And from what I understand, Vanderbilt has a great offense coming back next year. Robert Anae is an interesting possibility there, whether he'd leave Bronco (Mendenhall) for the chance to come back to Salt Lake. I know he's friends with Kyle Whittingham. The guy that I'm mostly intrigued with is Steve Sarkisian. I think given his history in the Pac-12, he knows how to recruit, which is No. 1, help them in Southern California get people. He worked in the conference, I realize he's had is off-the-field troubles and those have been well-documented, and the chance that he might just stay for a short term and move on is a very distinct possibility. However, I think you gotta remember if Utah is as loaded as everybody thinks they are, so what if he stays one or two years?

MS: Just be like every other year at Utah.

DF: So you know it's intriguing to see what will happen there. If we had to look at all four, are all four kind of a good fit? I mean you could you see all four of those guys, not together of course, but individually, making that job a success?

TW: It's interesting because Anae's spread offense is different than Utah has ever run and so I think that would be the biggest adjustment if they were to get Robert Anae is just the spread that he runs is different than what Utah does. Whereas the other ones, I would say, are more closely, at least how they coach, is more similar to how Kyle Whittingham likes his offense run.

DF: Mike, Robert Anae, they say he's from the Rich Rodriguez school of learning offenses and he's been exposed to other things a little bit. Even that, do you still think all four could fit in that role?

MS: I wonder about Anae. I know that Utah has a lot of BYU coaches but maybe since he was there so recently that may not go over with the fans as well. And I know that he wasn't even popular with BYU fans when he ran the offense down there. So I don't know if he'd be a good fit. He'd be probably my last choice of those four.

DF: But who would tell Robert Anae? He's a scary man.

Just a reminder folks that the Salt Lake Stallions are bringing professional football to Rice-Eccles Stadium next month. The season's getting closer. For season tickets, call 1-833-AAF-2019 or go to SaltLakeStallions.com. I understand individual game tickets are also on sale at this time.

Let's switch gears to basketball. Mike, .500 mark for the Utes at this time, going into the Washington and Washington State games this week. Did things get fixed in Arizona? Do you think that they showed, by nearly beating Arizona in Tucson and then of course rallying to beat Arizona State, have they fixed what's broken?

MS: I saw them on TV and I was very impressed, to tell you the truth, because I've been down on the team most of the year. There's just something missing. Somehow though, down there they seemed to just relax, just go out and play and not worry about — seems to me they were working the ball just too much. And they were too set in their ways and almost looked like an NBA team. You know, (Sedric) Barefield just came down and shot the ball and made shots and moved around. And (Donnie) Tillman did the same. And they're their two best players and they had two great games. So if those two guys get unleashed, I think it's going to be a pretty good year for them. But up until now they've just kind of had that stagnant offense that hurt them, and their defense has never been great this year. So they've got to fix that, I think. But if they can score, it's all about putting the ball in the hoop, as Jim Boylen used to say. Ball didn't go in the hoop. And it's been going in the hoop the last couple games and if it continues to go in the hoop, they could have a good run and get one of those top four seeds and maybe, with though the weakness of the league, they could maybe make a good run this year.

DF: Then of course you've got Timmy Allen, who's a freshman, jumped in there. I think Tillman and Barefield and Allen — the three of them all shot over 50 percent on the trip. Which is encouraging to not just have one hot hand, although Barefield's had an extremely hot hand. You got three guys that are putting the ball in the hoop.

MS: Allen's been a guy that, ever since the first week of practice, Krystkowiak's been talking about what a great all-around player he is. He doesn't do anything great, he does a lot of things good. And I think he's kind of suddenly emerging as a solid player as a freshman. If he can keep it up too, that gives them a good third person to score. And then the other freshmen, Riley Batten and Both Gach, they were good earlier and they kind of faded away when these other guys stepped up, but they've shown they can do it. So if those guys can can hang in there and contribute, then it can be pretty solid Pac-12 play.

DF: Gach, they say, has been slowed by an ankle sprain, and that's kind of allowed for Barefield to move off the bench back into the starting lineup on that Arizona trip. It will remain to be seen, if Both is healthy this week, if Barefield comes off the bench again against Washington, Washington State. Washington is a team, I think they're 10-4, lost a bunch of close games, you can make an argument they might be the best team in the Pac-12. Is this game Thursday gonna say a lot about the Utes?

MS: I think it's one, if Utah can get by, Washington plays zone for 40 minutes of the game and Utah knows what they're going into there. And they've played against a lot this year. Utah has a very favorable schedule, if you look at it, if they get by Washington, they should beat Washington State. And then they have a couple of winnable road games against Stanford and Cal, who are picked toward the bottom of the league. And they come back home for three home games after that. They could conceivably be 8-1 at that point, because they've got five home games and a couple of winnable road games. And from there, if they get the confidence going, they've got to play a few tough road games after that, but it could really kind of get them going towards the rest of the season, and get up there in the top three or four in the league.

DF: Mike, you have the opportunity to cover both the Utah Jazz and the Utah Utes. They're both kind of similar right now, flirting with that .500 mark halfway through the season. Do you see some similarities in the situations both teams are in right now. And how there's a need for some guys to step up to get them up to that next level, that like you said, for the Utes to finish high in the Pac-12 so they get a good seed in the tournament, and then for the Jazz to hit the playoffs.

MS: Yeah, I really haven't thought of that. But you're probably right in the fact that I think both teams have underachieved so far this year. They haven't necessarily had injuries, that hasn't been the excuse. But despite being .500, they both have favorable schedules coming up where they can make a run. The Jazz have several home games coming up. The Utes have several home games coming up, and they both seem to have the talent to do it. So I think that they're not really .500 teams, although they've played that way, they should both before the season's over, be up towards the top of their respective leagues.

DF: Trent, we've kept you a little quiet here, but you're the Utah gymnastics beat writer. Tell us a little about the Red Rocks.

TW: They just finished their season opener on Friday, and they beat Penn State handily. It was pretty entertaining to watch, MyKayla Skinner, again, as great as ever, but if you'd watched the Penn State gymnasts, they were actually amazed when she was doing her floor routine. And then when they saw her all-around score at the end, one of them audibly gasped, because she is that good. But I mean, they had a great season opener and they have a meet against BYU this week.

DF: Are the supporting cast good enough that Utah can win a national championship? It's been a while.

TW: It has been a while and they've lacked depth, basically for years now. In 2015, they finished second in the country and they had a little bit more depth. But since then they haven't. They have three really good freshmen this year that they brought in. They actually brought in four but one got hurt for the year. One is a two-time Junior Olympic champion on uneven bars. And she was great on the meet on Saturday, and is ranked top three in the country right now on that. So it seems like this is probably the deepest team they've had in at least the past three or four years.

DF: Injuries are always a factor in every sport, but it seems especially so in gymnastics, and Utah has been bit by that in recent years. Is this a question of they need to stay healthy to compete for a national championship or, when you talk about depth, do they have enough that they could overcome an injury or two? Obviously if it happened to Skinner that's a whole different thing.

TW: That would be a horrifying thing for Utah fans. I mean with gymnastics there's only so many elite gymnasts on each team and there's only 12, 13, 14 gymnasts on a roster. So if you have an elite gymnast get hurt, it basically is like taking your best player off your basketball team for the year, or knocking out your offensive line for a football team. It seems as though they have the depth and they're healthy this year, they had a lot of girls injured last year that are healthy now that went through the offseason and got better, so it seems like they have the depth where, if not a national championship, they'll at least be able to be in the top four by the end of the year.

DF: I understand it was fantastic atmosphere there for the opener.

TW: Yeah it's always great. 15,000 fans. I think it was a little less than that for the season opener, and they were loud and they love their gymnasts.

DF: Speaking of loud and enthusiastic, Mike, Utah women's basketball is off to a great start. How good is this team? Are they postseason worthy?

MS: You know I think they are. I got to watch them last Sunday when they beat Arizona, they beat them handily. Arizona came in with 11 straight wins, they were 12-1. They weren't the best team in the league. But Utah was up by 30 points midway through the third quarter and they ended up beating them by 16. I think this is the best Utah team in a few years. They're 13-1 now and Lynne Roberts has done a great job. They're actually fun to watch. I saw a lot of Elaine Elliott's teams and they were very good, but they were not fun to watch. Games would be 50-39 or something like that. And Utah scores 80 points or more most of the time. The thing with Utah is they just don't have a lot of depth right now. They lost their second leading scorer, Daneesha Provo, to and ACL injury in the Arizona State game so she's out for the year. Kiana Moore stepped up and did great, she scored 19 points, 5 of 6 from 3-point range. in her place. But other than that, they've got Megan Huff, a senior, she's their best player. 19 points, nine rebounds. Dre'una Edwards, a freshman, is doing great, 12 a game. Dru Gylten, another freshman, they've got a lot of great freshman. They've had six freshman of the week awards already, so bodes well for the future. But the problem with the Utah women is going to be, it's a tough league and there's five teams ranked in the top 25 right now. Oregon and Stanford, Oregon State, Arizona State and Cal. So Utah, if they lose to those teams twice, there's 10 losses right there. They've got to beat those teams in Salt Lake, you figure they're not gonna beat them on the road. That would be five losses. But you know, if they can get up over 20 wins in a league like this they have a chance to go to the NCAAs again.

DF: That Arizona State game, I don't think I've seen a loss like that in a long time. How heartbreaking is that, for them to lose a six-point lead so late in the game and then to have a bank-shot beat them?

MS: That was, wasn't it. They were up six points with 1:25 left and then eight straight points, including that one at the buzzer which was just a fluke shot, she just kind of banked it in there from 20 feet, and so yeah, that was a heartbreaker and Lynne Roberts was pretty upset after that. But she said it said a lot about her team, that 36 hours later, and they also lost their second-leading scorer that game, they came back and just absolutely blitzed Arizona. So she just says it's kind of this next woman up mentality. They only have eight players that really play and all eight have to play a lot. Three or four them are freshmen, so I think they just have to kind of hang in there and see if they can finish in the league, like 11-7 or 12-6 — that would be a great year. But there's a lot of good teams and they just can't afford to lose to the average teams and they've got to beat the good teams when they play at the Huntsman Center.

DF: Right, and I think Lynne Roberts, at her press conference the other day, said that there were three players in the Pac-12 that suffered ACL injuries on Friday across the league. So Utah's not the only one to take that blow. Mike, last thing on the Utah women — is it a pipe dream to think they could win the conference championship? Given the fact, you mentioned, there are so many ranked teams? What would be realistic? Is it to win one game in the Pac-12 tournament? Is that a realistic goal?

MS: Yeah, I'd say maybe to win two. They should win one if they finish in the top half the league, but to win two would be something. You know, Oregon, Stanford, these teams are so good. Utah, they're not quite there yet. Maybe in a year or two they might be up with these teams, but the league is just so strong that I think if they can say they finished fifth or six with a strong finish, the NCAA will probably take at least that many teams and then they can see how far they go in the NCAAs.

DF: I remember a few years ago I was sent to Albuquerque for the NCAA women's Sweet 16 and no one thought the Utes would get that win. They did and then the Elite Eight; they had every opportunity to win that as well. So it would be exciting to get them in the tournament again. It sounds like an upward trajectory, which is good. I'm sure Larry Scott would love it if five Pac-12 men's teams were ranked in the top 25. In fact, he'd probably settle for one these days.

All right. It's time for our Utah by 5 segment. Our segment this week features Mike Lageschulte. Mike's in charge of the media operations for the NCAA Tournament, which is coming to Vivint Arena in March and we'll play that for you now.

Mike Lageschulte: Yeah, it's an event we look forward to hosting every three to four years, and it was our turn once again. We actually hosted as recently as 2017, so two years is a pretty quick turnaround to get it again. Normally it's three to four. But this is the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Final Four with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, that took place in the Huntsman Center. So we had a video created and sort of did an emotional appeal to the NCAA saying hey, we had this big event that I think a lot of people feel like that was the Final Four that transformed men's basketball into what it's become today, with the TV viewership, and the popularity of the tournament. We said hey, we want to have kind of a celebration opportunity at the 40-year mark. And they said, you know what we'll come your place again on a quick turnaround. So we're happy to have it. It's one of those events where people who know you're involved in the tournament say, hey when's it coming again? They want to get tickets and plan for it, because it's one of those events that we've been hosting every three or four years since the late '70s, with regional rounds, first and second rounds, and it's something our fans of have grown accustomed to having in town. They look forward to it, it's a big event, and we're excited to have it once again.

DF: Mike, I understand that you actually kind of add that workload to your workload already, and a lot of people do in the department. It's kind of a labor of love in a way. I know you get compensated a little bit but it is mostly a labor of love, isn't it?

ML: It sure is. And the tournament has changed a lot of ways in recent years. Steve Pine is our tournament director and Steve Smith, who was our assistant, and some other folks from our staff went to Indianapolis for a seminar this summer. And we noticed a lot of different people that were there from the various cities. And what's happened now is it's not colleges necessarily running the tournament. It's the sports commissions and Chamber of Commerce and so forth that see the value from having events come to town, with hotel nights, and so forth. So the universities make the bid and they had a few people to run it. But now it's become more of a sports commission-driven event in a lot of places. So there's a lot more turnover with the host staff. There's not a lot of people from the universities in conference offices involved like they used to be. So Utah is unique in the sense that it's very much a University of Utah hosted and driven event. We have some help from the Larry H. Miller Group with using their venue, and the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau in Salt Lake has been a tremendous help with hotels and some other things. But really, the University of Utah staff runs this event. So there's a group of about a dozen of us that are heavily involved about a year out from planning and doing outside visits. In fact, we're having a meeting today at Vivint Smart Home Arena to kind of go over some things. And so it's really a long process.

I don't think people realize, you know, when you host the games in March they probably think we had a busy week getting ready for this. Yes, we've had, but we've had a busy year to plan and go to meetings and really do it the right way. So it's an intense process. It is a labor of love that's done on top of our normal jobs. But when you get to host this event every so often, and the games are always huge, and it's something our fans love and look forward to. It's really something that we enjoy doing tremendously.

DF: Does it surprise you it's been 40 years since Magic and Bird played? I mean, it kind of ages those of us who remember those guys.

ML: You know, one of my first memories of watching sports was watching that 1979 Final Four. And at that point, I was 8 years old and just starting to figure out teams and sports and what was going on. And I remember watching the semifinals on Saturday. And my dad's like, you know, this is kind of a big deal because of these two players, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and I understood a little bit of the backstory. And I watched the championship game on Monday. And I remember still vividly the ceiling structure in the Huntsman Center, how it's so unique, and the pictures they showed of downtown, you know, to and from commercials. And just some things of Salt Lake that just stuck with me for years and years. And while I was looking for a job, I remembered Utah hosts tournament games on a regular basis and I was trying to find a place to go — that was one thing to sort of make me think maybe I need to really look at this Utah thing pretty seriously, it might be a chance to work NCAA games on a regular basis. And I grew up watching the tournament, and loved it from that point on in '79, through my teenage years, in college and so forth. And that was a draw when I came here. So it's just amazing how, like you say, it's 40 years. And for me as a 9-year-old to be watching those games at the Final Four in '79 and to end up out here and still just remember vividly watching those games.

I'm sure a lot of people have similar memories from games that have taken place here. You think about Gonzaga-Arizona back here in early 2000s. We've had Duke out here, Kentucky, you go on down the line of people who really know the history of the NCAA Tournament and they'll say, oh yeah, this game took place in Salt Lake City. It's pretty cool, the big games we've had in this city. We're not in the Huntsman Center anymore, we're downtown just because we didn't really have enough locker room space to meet the specifications that they want for the tournament now, but still to be able to go to Vivint and host games in this community is really a cool deal.

DF: Hey Mike, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

All right we're back. Mike, you've been around a long time covering college basketball. The NCAA Tournament's a big deal, it's like Mike said in the interview, it's a tradition here in Utah to have the tournament. And the fact is this time we only had to wait two years to get it back.

MS: Yeah I remember going to them when I was in high school way back a long time ago and actually my very first year on the Deseret News was the year we had the Final Four here, with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in 1979. That shows you how old I am. But since then we must have had at least half a dozen, I guess I lost track, maybe 10 tournaments since then. Used to have them every other year for a while. And it's always fun. I think that Salt Lake has had almost as many, I think Kansas City's the only place that's had more.

DF: I think the Huntsman Center's the No. 2 venue of all time, and it's probably going to stay that way.

MS: It will, and as far as the city, Salt Lake's up there. Maybe New York has more but still, it's a great tradition and it's one that fan should take advantage of, because it's fun to see these teams come in from all over the country. We've seen a lot of great teams come in recent years, a lot of great players, so it's gonna be fun to have them.

DF: It's interesting, you know we talked about that Final Four with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I can't believe it's been 40 years and Mike reminded me that he was 8 or 9 years old when they were here. Does it seem like 40 years, Mike?

MS: Not for us old guys. But I remember that very well. And it was a fun time, no doubt about it.

DF: Guys, as we wrap up the show, anything to look forward to this week? Obviously, we'll find out a lot about the Runnin' Utes, seeing how they do against the Washington schools, particularly the Huskies. They should be the Cougars pretty handily, but nothing's a given.

MS: It'd be a great week if both the Utah men and women's basketball teams could sweep these Washington schools. That would just give them momentum for the next couple weeks after that, because I think both are going to have a good second half of the league season.

DF: Trent, what are you looking forward to? Utah hiring an OC? Gymnastics?

TW: That'll be fun. And then on Friday is BYU-Utah in gymnastics, which is always fun. Always a good rivalry.

MS: BYU's never won? Have they?

TW: I think they have won maybe two in the history. Yeah. This one's in Provo at the Marriott center.

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