Back in 2016 when Utah was led by Kyle Kuzma, Jordan Loveridge and Jakob Poetl, the Utes fell in the Pac-12 championship game but advanced to the NCAA Tournament. After securing a victory over No. 14 Fresno State in the opener, the No. 3 seeded Utes fell to No. 11 Gonzaga in the round of 32.
Unfortunately, that was the last time the Utes have been a part of 'March Madness' after being shutout the past four seasons. If they're to try and end that drought this year, a lot of work has to be done.
For the first time this season, the first NET rankings of the 2020-21 college basketball season has been released and it doesn't look upon favorably for the Utes.
All 340 Division I college basketball teams are listed in the NET rankings, which is considered one of the grading systems for the NCAA selection committee lets programs in the country know where they stand throughout the season.
Utah checks in at No. 120 in the country, which shouldn't come as a shock upon further examination of their schedule.
The Utes are currently winless (0-3) against Quadrant 1 teams and undefeated (4-0) against Quadrant 4 teams. Of their wins, the victory over Washington (No. 237) is the most impressive while defeats to USC (No. 26), BYU (No. 52) and UCLA (No. 54) have hurt.
Utah currently sits ninth in the Pac-12 NET rankings behind; Colorado (No. 14), Oregon (No. 19), Arizona (No. 21), USC (No. 26), UCLA (No. 54), Stanford (No. 55), Washington State (No. 101) and Arizona State (No. 105).
The Utes will have a chance to jump up those rankings when it hosts the Ducks and Cardinal in two of their next four games, all at home over the next two weeks. Utah returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at home against Oregon State when it tips off at 9 p.m. MT.
Teams are graded off their performances throughout the season to determine their NET rankings, which takes into account where a team is ranked, where its opponent is ranked and where the game is played.
Quadrant 1: Home Ranked No. 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home Ranked No. 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353; Neutral 201-353; Away 241-353
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