As we learned last night in the Utah Jazz's collapse against the New Orleans Pelicans — a team in disarray, reeling from superstar Anthony Davis demanding a trade and a team that had won just 29 games entering Monday night's game against the Jazz — any team in the NBA can win on any given night. The Jazz, who led by as many as 17 points against New Orleans, squandered a late lead and fell to the Pelicans 115-112.
With the loss fresh in Jazz fans' minds, take the following projections with a grain of salt — because the game is played on the court, not on paper.
After suffering through one of the hardest schedules in the NBA in the first half of the season, the Jazz have a favorable schedule down the stretch. Tankathon.com ranks Utah's remaining 19 games as the easiest in the league. Utah's strength of schedule is just .412 the rest of the way, and the Jazz still play the Phoenix Suns — currently sitting at .215 — three times, plus the Knicks, who are dreaming of Zion Williamson with a winning percentage of .203, the Bulls (.281), and the Hawks (.338) once each. If the Jazz can take care of business in the games that they should win, they should be able to move up the standings.
With the Jazz at 36-27 following the loss to the Pelicans, FiveThirtyEight's projection model projects Utah to finish with a 50-32 record. In fact, according to FiveThirtyEight's CARMELO model, the Jazz are favored to win in every game of their remaining schedule except for the April 7 matchup against the Lakers in Los Angeles — but the Lakers, who all but closed its playoff hopes by losing to the Clippers on Monday night, should be eliminated from playoff contention at that point.
Aggies predicted to play in Salt Lake City in the NCAA tournament
Utah State's excellent win over No. 12 Nevada — the program's first win over a Top-25 team since 2007 — was overshadowed by postgame controversy.3 comments on this story
Lost in the discussion of what transpired after the game was the fact that Utah State has a very, very good chance to go dancing for the first time since 2011 — in a familiar arena. Both CBS Sports and ESPN's bracketology projections have the Aggies in the tourney, playing at Vivint Arena.
CBS's Jerry Palm has Utah State matching up with No. 8 Baylor as the No. 9 seed in Salt Lake, while ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Ags as a 11-seed facing No. 6 Villanova in SLC.
Donovan Mitchell rocked some BYU shocks following the Jazz game