Dick Harmon: Utes, Cougars fine-tuning heading into hoops showdown

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  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    StGtoSLC - They may have told you that but what I wrote is a more accurate description, and this is not based on casual conversations during games or camps, it is based on first had experience with the officials, the associations and my own experience as an official.

    Hall is one of the best officials in the country period. His number of final fours, conference tournament championship games and just being in demand prove that. Tornley is better IMO. Syphers and Irving are both excellent officials too but neither are as good as Hall or Thornley.

  • anti BCS Anaheim, CA
    Dec. 13, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    Chris B

    "If BYU wins by 17 I won't post on BYU articles for a year!"

    Average score of the BYU-Utah game during the Dave Rose era is an 8-point spread:

    BYU 72
    Utah 64

    Yet you want to more than double that to a 17-point spread, AT HOME no less?

    What's wrong; too chicken to go for the straight up win?

    Dec. 12, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    PP, no, you're incorrect. I've spoken with about a dozen of these officials, between offseason camps, exhibition games and in-season games when I worked in the athletic department, and nearly all of them work for multiple conferences. I don't consider Dave Hall one of the best. He's probably the most experienced in the west and runs several offseason clinics, but I've been perplexed by his calls more than any other single official I can remember. The officials I've been impressed with the most over the years are the Mikes: Mike Scyphers and Michael Irving. I don't know who the officials are going to be in Saturday's game, but I am pretty confident that both Utah and BYU fans who are well acquainted will probably recognize all of them.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 10:48 p.m.

    cougars, meet the 2 best players in the state, Jordan Loveridge and Delon Wright.


    Sorry that you have a sorry provider.

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    Dec. 12, 2013 10:01 p.m.

    "The Utes are much improved from last year"

    BYU had a top 25 recruiting class, and return most of their stars from last year. This comment won't play a role. The ONLY advantage for Utah in this game is home court. Look for BYU to dominate near the end of the game when Utah gets gassed. BYU is the best team they'll play all year up to this point and they won't know how to handle the diversity of a better team on their court.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    StGtoSLC - That is incorrect. Each conference has their own officials and most don't cross conference lines. Only the best officials like Dave Hall and Scott Thornley do that but they still work primarily for one conference.

    The funny think is, Hall and Thornley are primarily MWC officials and only worked a few PAC games a few years ago, but come tournament time they were chosen ahead of all the PAC officials to do the tournament final.

    SO yes, the PAC for the most part has terrible and very biased officials in both Basketball and Football.

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:37 p.m.

    Pregame puffing about wright is funny! Let's see how he does against a real college basketball team on Saturday before making such grandiose statements. I was at the Boise State game and have seen all of BYUs games. I see no comparison. Too bad this game is on the mtn2.0 and won't be available to many.

    Dec. 12, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    Down under, aka et al: "I have been watching PAC 10 games for 15 years in the Pacific Northwest and one thing I have noticed for years, and it is getting worse, is that the PAC has about the worst officials."

    Well, I guess you could say that's one thing you "noticed"... or made up. The officials for PAC-12 basketball games (and the PAC-10 before it) are by and large the same exact individuals that cover WAC, MWC, WCC, and any other games in the West. The officials are not full-time officials for one conference like football has, they can work for as many as will hire them so they can work three or four games a week. I see you're doing all you can to get your excuses warmed up just in case, though. Nice try, you'll have to find one slightly more believable, though.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 5:50 p.m.

    This should be a fun game to watch. Utah is much better from what I've seen & BYU needs to improve defensively to come away with a big victory. Both these teams have had issues being consistent at times, so both will need to bring their A game...especially Carlino who makes me want to pull my hair out at times. If I was Dave Rose I would put Bartley on Wright and play a box and 1 type defense. Bartley is very athletic and a bigger guard that can shut Wright down. If BYU shuts wright down, that will be the end of it because he's the heart and soul of the utes and a serious baller. For those saying he's the best player in the state, he'll have a chance to prove it on Saturday. Good luck to both teams and may the best team get the W.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    Chris B
    Salt Lake City, UT

    If you're saying byu is an above average team because they took nationally ranked teams down to the wire, you must think Utah football is a very above average team right?"

    Except BYU came out of their tough schedule with a winning record.

  • Gone fishin Seattle, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    And NOT making the big dance makes you what?
    Isn't that what teams play the games for? Sorry my friend but you are dead wrong on this one.
    Maybe the utes play for something other than making the big dance. I am now beginning to see your logic here. Utah's role is supporting the conference from the bottom and making sure that other pac teams make the big dance by letting them beat you. I get it now. Thank you for the clarification.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 2:54 p.m.


    "Since you're already predicting a Utah win on their home court on Saturday, please tell us you will be willing to obstain from any sports article comments over the next week should BYU happen to win. I'll do the same should Utah happen to win. That sounds fair"


    It'll be nice to remind you and ask where you are next week, knowing you're reading my comments rubbing it in day after day after day!

    Your silence will be deafening!

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    Gonefishin and Tators,

    You guys are so funny you seem to think simply making the big dance makes a season successful. I can't think of a single big time program who thinks just making the tournament somehow makes them a great team/program.

    Now, EVERY school has down years and goes without making the program. But my point is this, I think any program would take a final 4 year and then several years of not making the tournament over 3 consecutive one and done's or a 3 year 1-3 record in the NCAA tournament.

    1 final four is worth a lot more than 2 rounds of 32 and 1 sweet 16(loss).

    But you guys wouldn't know what a final 4 feels like would you?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 2:51 p.m.


    If you're saying byu is an above average team because they took nationally ranked teams down to the wire, you must think Utah football is a very above average team right?

    Or will you flip flip again?

  • gamer PROVO, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    BYU 78
    UTAH 71

    Utah has a lot of size and although I like BYU's starting frontcourt more, they lack depth. If Mika nad Austin stay out of foul trouble in SLC then BYU should pull this one out. This is Utah's best team in 6 years so this is no guarantee.

    BYU will have to show up and play to win this one. Utah has little to lose with an 11 game losing streak to BYU.

  • Spokane Ute Spokane, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 1:30 p.m.


    I stand corrected; better than average. That win is over Stanford #56. Probably a middle of the pack, PAC 12 team. Lotta games to be played; BYU will finish 2nd or 3rd in the WCC. IMO Indeed, better than average Guy! Looking forward to Saturday's game; I think it will be a good one!

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    thebigsamoan Richmond, VA - "I can't ever get that sorry network here."
    In Richmond Virginia, The PAC12 Network is channel 413 on DISH.

  • 11 of past 12 Seattle, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    I am not a huge BYU (more of a non-Utah fan) and I am not making excused here but I have been watching PAC 10 games for 15 years in the Pacific Northwest and one thing I have noticed for years, and it is getting worse, is that the PAC has about the worst officials I have even seen, both in and out of conference games. They will usually heavily favor the pac team in OOC games in making calls so BYU will have to adjust to poor officiating when they play Utah this weekend.
    BYU should still win it but not by as many as they should if they played with neutral officials on a neutral court.

  • Gone fishin Seattle, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    CB won't respond to your question because it will reveal the truth as to where the program has been the past few years. He digs up vey old information that it totally irrelevant in the last 10 years.
    The important numbers are 11 of the last 12 have gone to the Cougars and that BYU has more tourney appearances last 10 years than Utah.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    @ Spokane Ute:

    I quite often agree with your comments, but can't do so this time. BYU is better than an average team. Much better.
    Average teams don't consistently take nationally ranked teams down to the wire the way BYU has been doing.
    Average teams don't average 90+ points a game the way BYU has been doing.
    Average teams don't beat PAC12 conference teams on their own home court the way BYU has already done this season.

    @ Chris B:

    Are you and "Cletus from Coalville" brothers? If not, you're certainly kindred spirits. You definitely sound a lot alike.

    So what is we can all "mark it down" this week?

    @ goforit:

    It's basically impossible to assess the difference in talent levels due to the 2 teams playing totally different levels of opponents so far. You are trying to compare apples and oranges. BYU has played one of the tougher pre-conference schedules in the country while Utah has literally played the very easiest.
    You might not be surprised if Utah wins, but most objective basketball pundits certainly will be.

    @ regis:

    Utah probably has a better team than last year, but don't forget that BYU does too.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    @ Chris B:

    I noticed in order to answer "Utah" to any of your specific basketball questions, you had to go back more years than the age of many current DN readers. So in order to put things in proper context, please tell the answers to these questions:

    When was the last time Utah went to an NCAA post-season tournament?

    How many times has BYU been to post-season tournaments over the past 5 years?

    How many times has Utah been to post-season tournaments over the past 5 years?

    Got any of your infamous guarantees for us today?

    Since you're already predicting a Utah win on their home court on Saturday, please tell us you will be willing to obstain from any sports article comments over the next week should BYU happen to win. I'll do the same should Utah happen to win. That sounds fair.

  • Serenity Now Highland, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Prediction: BYU by 10 points, Haws will struggle as Utah will rough him up and he'll score most of his points at the line, while Carlino and Mika will be the stars.

    If Utah wins, I won't post any comments on Utah articles for 5 years (this won't be hard, as I don't read them unless they involve BYU).

  • goforit Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    No surprise here if Utah wins. BYU'S lack of defense kills them against teams with talent that is close to theirs. I don't think the talent gap is all that great between the two teams. Utah will be more physical which will be the case for most BYU games. Remember history shows finesse teams don't fair well in the NCAA Tournament. BYU will be in the NIT again this year, they will lose against the better teams, beat the lesser teams and lose some against average teams because they can't play defense.

  • Spokane Ute Spokane, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:46 a.m.


    That's a bummer. I will get the game in HD via comcast. The PAC 12 brodcasts a lot of football and basketball games. It's actually a very good sports channel.

    @Chris B

    Please don't get your marker out Guy!

  • perfidemintrepidus Riverton, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    This should be a good physical match and likely decided by the team that can rebound better in the paint and get those precious second-chance/free throw points. Of course I expect BYU to come out as the winning team, but it will be a bit tougher on the road.

    BYU - 84
    Utah - 78

  • Will T. Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    Haws may score more, but Wright DOES more. Wright is the best player in the state, and will be playing in the league in two years.

    Dick, you might want to learn how to spell KRYSTKOWIAK's name.


  • Alpiner Alpine, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    I expect a close game. Coach K is a solid coach; I liked how his team did at the end of close games last year but they didn't do well down the stretch against Boise State. I wouldn't be surprised to see Utah win this one. I believe the all time series record in this rivalry is BYU 129 and Utah 125.

  • CougarColby Fort Benning, GA
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Haven't really been following the utes basketball so far, but a 121 ranking schedule is pretty horrific. It is plainly obvious what their coach is doing, but it may work out for them. Momentum is a crazy emotional ride.

    A top 10 RPI for BYU is fantastic, but the Cougs needed to pull out at least one win of those three top 25 teams. They were close, but still no W. Stanford win was big and the USU game was great.

    Mentally I think BYU can handle utah in SLC. They've done for the past few years. Haws will be up for the game. But their 2-3 zone really worries me. The zone looked awful against UMass. Poor switching and they constantly left the foul line area open which ended up with dishes in the middle or pop back out for a 3. UMass had some hot hands with the 3 ball, which was uncharacteristic for their season averages. But when we played poor perimeter defense...that's what happens.

    Utah still has a long way to go, albeit they are making much faster strides. Rose and Co should handle this game back and forth with a 11 point BYU win.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    The utes will do better with basketball than football, and their coach has done a good job.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    Thomas Jeffeson,

    Deep in the tournament?


    The last team in Utah to win a sweet 16 game? UTAH

    The last team in Utah to win an elite 8 game? UTAH

    The last team in Utah to win a final 4 game? UTAH

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    I was really excited and looking forward to watching the game until I found out that it's going to be on the Pac12 network. It's very disappointing! Sucks to be me I guess! I can't ever get that sorry network here. I hope the game will be exciting and competitive and the Cougs come out on top. Utah is good and I hope the Cougs will not underestimate them.

    Go Cougars!

  • DixieSmallBizMan Saint George, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Chris B,

    Nobody believes you would stop posting on BYU articles no matter the final margin of Cougar victory.

    Love the thickness of utes rose (crimson rose) colored glasses. One thing that Dave Rose's schedule has done is ensured that BYU is NOT intimidated. Stanford, away. Texas and Utah State neutral court. Rose hass the uties number (much like Whit has Bronco's number, much to my eternal consternation.) Also love that over the last several years BYU's bigger winning margins have been at the Huntsman Center.More than anything, too many utes have never experienced the rivalry before. 4 of the Cougar starting 5 grew up in the rivalry, and Carlino and Winder are well imbued with it now. New uties haven't seen anything like Saturday's environment or pressure. Unpredictable how they will react. Any body who saw BYU Utah St and ESA nows BYU will not be phased by any environment, nor fan pressure.

  • regis Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    I recall Utah last year gave BYU all it could handle in Provo. The Utes are much improved from last year and will be playing in front of the home fans this time. It would be foolish to predict a Utah win, but on the other hand it will be no huge upset if it happens. More importantly, Utah's program is on a positive trajectory and improving much more rapidly than I would have hoped just two years ago.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    Look at that picture. that ute guys is totally fowling the byu player and I'll bet it wasn't called.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    RE: Chris B.

    "If byu wins by 17 I won't post on byu articles for a year!"

    Thanks for making my day. Now I'm really looking forward to Saturday's contest.

  • Spokane Ute Spokane, WA
    Dec. 12, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    I like Utah's chances in this one. BYU is an average team. This is good opponent, but nothing compared to conference play with UCLA, Arizona (1), Colorado (21) and Oregon (15).

    Remember, the better team is who's ranked higher, total points is meaningless as is head to head games. At least that's what BYU fans think when it meets there agenda.

  • Cletus from Coalville Coalville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 6:21 a.m.

    We are good over byu because we have been playing tuff competition and winning them good so that makes us real good for Saturday so we will win byu by 37.

    Utes 99
    byu 37

    Gooooooo Utes!

  • Who am I sir? Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 11:00 p.m.

    First time in a few years I'm looking forward to this game. I don't know if Utah has been able in just a couple of years to close the gap sufficiently for a win. I am anxious to watch individual play and try to determine who I think is the best player on the court! I'm anxious to see which team plays the best team ball (remember Utah has something like 6 players that have played more than 10 games together!) Which team plays the best defense. It will be fun to watch and the potential is there for a much better contest next year! Another question is in 2015, if the Y and Utah do not play each other (which is a possibility according to Coach Rose) will Utah be ready for Kansas?!

    Let's get this preseason over - I can't wait for the PAC-12 Conference to begin play.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    Mind games, you must be joint right?

    If byu wins by 17 I won't post on byu articles for a year!

    I will be posting all year.

    Utah 77
    ByU 69

    Remember, the better team is the one who scores more points.

  • mindgames Aurora, CO
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:41 p.m.

    Well this should be a test for Utah to see how their STRATEGIC scheduling is working. BYU will be as close as the Utes get in preparing them for their rivalry series with Colorado. What a joke. The Cougars have played very well against the middle of the pack teams like Stanford, Texas, and Utah State so they should have little trouble with the bottom feeders of the PAC-10.2 conference.

    This should be a good warm up for our rivals in the WCC of #20 Gonzaga and St. Mary's.

    This could be a good game because of the history these two teams have but it isn't as meaningful as the years when we had the pair of games in a season.

    Just glad BYU is winning the recruiting wars between these two teams.

    Utes, enjoy these next couple of days because the talk is easy before the game.

    Prediction: BYU 86
    Utah 69

    You don't have to mark it down it's just my best guess.


    Dec. 11, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    A few things on this article:

    I see BYU running a lot of their 2-3 zone. That's been the one real struggle I've seen from Rose's teams over the years, is running man defense.

    I expect Utah to drop back quickly to prevent fast breaks, so there won't be much for offensive rebounds and second chance points. This means they'll have to work very efficiently in their halfcourt sets.

    I expect Wright to guard Carlino primarily, Dakarai Tucker will probably take Haws.

    Haws is the state's best scorer, Dick, but Wright is the best player.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:30 p.m.

    Thomas Jefferson,

    How pathetic would a team be if they lost to Utah? Careful with your answer. It's going to come back to you Saturday.