March Sadness brings April Gladness for Utah hoops

Apr 1 2013 - 11:05pm

Images

BYU's Brandon Davies huddles with his teammates before a second-round game against Mercer of the NIT college basketball tournament on Monday, March 25, 2013, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/The Daily Herald, Spenser Heaps
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard (0) drives to the basket as Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) and Randy Foye (8) defend in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Monday, April 1, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
BYU guard Craig Cusick (2) leads his teammates as they begin to celebrate their win over Southern Mississippi in the final seconds of their NIT college quarterfinal basketball game in Hattiesburg, Miss., Wednesday, March 27, 2013. BYU won 79-62. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors dunks the ball during a game against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Nets 116-107. (AP Photo/George Frey
BYU's Brandon Davies huddles with his teammates before a second-round game against Mercer of the NIT college basketball tournament on Monday, March 25, 2013, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/The Daily Herald, Spenser Heaps
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard (0) drives to the basket as Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) and Randy Foye (8) defend in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game Monday, April 1, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
BYU guard Craig Cusick (2) leads his teammates as they begin to celebrate their win over Southern Mississippi in the final seconds of their NIT college quarterfinal basketball game in Hattiesburg, Miss., Wednesday, March 27, 2013. BYU won 79-62. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors dunks the ball during a game against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Nets 116-107. (AP Photo/George Frey

With no NCAA tournament team, Weber State's NIT snub,  and the Jazz struggles in March, we seemed to be in a sort of a basketball dark ages here in Utah.

This unbearable stretch in March included a 9-game road losing steak for the Jazz, and two big late-season losses for BYU against eventual tournament teams, St. Mary's and Gonzaga. This agonizing month also featured the seemingly NIT tournament-bound Weber State Wildcats being rejected a spot into their seemingly irrevocable place in the tournament.

Oh what a difference a month can make.

The Jazz  are currently on a five-game win streak ( two straight on the road), BYU is headed to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals against Baylor, and Weber State becomes the first Big Sky team to play in any sort of pos season championship as they host East Carolina for the CIT championship.

With the Cougars and Wildcats both in their respective postseasons and the Jazz looking to make a push and hold off the Lakers and Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the West, the end of this basketball hibernation couldn't come at a better time.


Weber State has been making the NIT selection committee look silly for not including the Wildcats in their field of 32, beating their first two CIT opponents, Cal Poly and Air Force, by a combined 65 points. Brigham Young has also looked impressive in their tournament run, beating its three opponents by an average of 15.7 points per game, including a 17-point road win over Southern Miss in their quarterfinal match up.


And let's not forget about the Jazz.


While many Jazz fans were ready to jump ship on coach Ty Corbin and his struggling team after a 3-12 skid spanning Feb. 23 to Mar. 25, including 9 straight losses on the road. While it may not have been an elite opponent, the Jazz looked impressive against the Sixers at home. They came out with the idea that they wanted to come out and deliver the first punch. After the 107-91 win, Randy Foye echoed this theme that seemed almost tangible in the Jazz locker room by stating, "We want to take the fight to them."


The Jazz have looked absolutely brilliant since then, following up the Sixers win with a 103-88 beatdown of the Suns at home. The Jazz have also closed games on the road recently, beating both Portland and Brooklyn with great second-half performances, led by key players Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Paul Millsap and last week's NBA player of the week, Al Jefferson. 


The Jazz defeated Portland at home tonight (April 1), then host the Nuggets and Hornets this week before heading to Golden State on Sunday.

As for the the Wildcats and BYU: Weber State's CIT championship game against East Carolina will take place at the Dee Events Center on Tuesday at 6 p.m. And BYU takes on Baylor in the NIT semifinal in New York at 5 p.m. on Tuesday night as well. 

 

 

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