Utah’s Weekend Sweep Helps Climb In-State Rankings
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utes picked up their first road sweep of the bay area schools and are in third place in the Pac-12.
The Utah State Aggies needed a game-winning three-pointer from Abel Porter to get the win in New Mexico and stay on top of the in-state power rankings for the third consecutive week.
It was a good week for the state of Utah in college hoops with the local teams going 7-2.
Utah State moved up to second place in the Mountain West Conference with their solo win last week.
BYU is in third place in the WCC standings after a big win over St. Mary’s.
UVU won both of their road contests to put their conference record above .500 and are in fourth place in the WAC.
Weber State dropped from first place to third after falling to Montana in Missoula.
Southern Utah dropped to fifth place after their lone loss to Northern Colorado.
ESPN puts out a Basketball Power Index, also known as BPI, which measures a team’s strength going forward. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has a metric called “Strength of Record” that reflects the chance a typical 25th ranked team would have team’s record or better, given the schedule on a 0 to 100 scale, where 100 is the best.
Five of the six schools improved their strength of record, while three of the six schools improved their BPI rating.
Here’s the third edition of the KSL Sports in-state college basketball power rankings from games played Monday, January 21 to Sunday January 27:
1. Utah State Aggies (15-5, 5-2)
ESPN BPI Rating: 7.8, No. 54 (Down 2 Spots)
Wins: at New Mexico (-0.3 BPI, No. 177)
Strength of Record: (Up 9 Spots)
Recap: Utah State had to really fight for their massive win at New Mexico. Their biggest lead was 14 in the first half but the Lobos came back in the second half. The Aggies were down by one with 35 seconds left when the officials called a backcourt violation that the Mountain West Conference would later say was the wrong call, it wasn’t reviewable. Utah State’s Abel Porter made the game winning three-pointer with 1.6 left to give the Aggies the 68-66 win.
Sam Merrill led the way with 22 points, Brock Miller chipped in 16 points, including 4-for-5 from three-point range. Neemias Queta had 8 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. The Aggies have won four straight and five of their last six. They are currently in second place in the Mountain West Conference standings.
Previous Ranking: 1
Next Up: vs. San Jose State (3-16, 0-7 MWC), Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Mountain West Network. They will host UNLV (11-8, 5-2 MWC) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on AT&T SportsNet.
2. BYU Cougars (13-9, 5-2 WCC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 4.6, No. 98 (Down 2 Spots)
Wins: vs. St. Mary’s (9.6 BPI, No. 184)
Strength of Record: 118 (Up 15 Spots)
Recap: BYU snapped St. Mary’s five game regular season winning streak with a 71-66 victory in Provo. The Gaels had a 5-point lead with 5:48 left in the first half but BYU took over from there. The Cougars biggest lead of the game was 12 points late in the second half.
Yoeli Childs dropped 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cougars. T.J. Haws poured in 17 points and 7 assists, Gavin Baxter had a great game off the bench with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Previous Ranking: 2
Next Up: vs. No. 4 Gonzaga (19-2, 6-0 WCC), Thursday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. They will host Loyola Marymount (15-6, 3-4 WCC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. on BYUtv. Both games will be broadcast on KSL Newsradio.
3. Utah Utes (11-8, 5-2 Pac-12)
ESPN BPI Rating: 2.0, No. 133 (Up 17 Spots)
Wins: at Stanford (1.7 BPI, No. 140), at California (-7.4 BPI, No. 308)
Strength of Record: 114 (Up 22 Spots)
Recap: The game against Stanford was tight throughout. But the Utes were able to steal a 70-66 win in Palo Alto for the first time since 1971. Sedrick Barefield hit 4 three-pointers to go with 18 points. Donnie Tillman notched 11 points off the bench.
In their 82-64 win over Cal, Utah dominated the game in the second half, outscoring the Golden Bears 36-22. Barefield had 21 points and 5 rebounds to lead Utah once again. Timmy Allen had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Both Gach had 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Utah swept the northern California schools on the road for the first time as members of the Pac-12.
Previous Ranking: 4
Next Up: vs. Oregon (12-8, 3-4 Pac-12), Thursday at 7 p.m. on FS1. They will host Oregon State (12-7, 4-3 Pac-12) on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.
3. Utah Valley Wolverines (15-7, 4-3 WAC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 1.8, No. 137 (Up 3 Spots)
Wins: at UMKC (-4.7 BPI, No. 262), at Chicago State (-17.9 BPI, No. 353, last in the country)
Strength of Record: 103 (Up 8 Spots)
Recap: Other than trailing by 9 points early in the first half, UVU was able to take care of UMKC 75-67. Jake Toolson led the way with a double-double, 23 points and 10 rebounds. Richard Harward added 16 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Against Chicago State, Utah Valley led the entire game to a 74-60 win over the Cougars. Jake Toolson had a game-high 18 points and Wyatt Lowell had 15 points and 9 boards off the bench.
Previous Ranking: 3
Next Up: vs. California Baptist (10-9, 2-4 WAC), Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the KSL TV app.
5. Weber State Wildcats (13-7, 7-2 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Rating: 0.8, No. 155 (Up 1 Spot)
Wins: at Montana State (-5.1 BPI, No. 272)
Losses: at Montana (3.3 BPI, No. 119)
Strength of Record: 156 (Up 1 Spot)
Recap: The Wildcats did their damage in the first half in their 93-84 win over Montana State. They outscored the Bobcats 44-35. Jerrick Harding led the way with 23 points, Brekkott Chapman chipped in 21 points and 7 rebounds. Zach Braxton tallied a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds to go with 3 blocks.
In their 75-68 loss to Montana, Weber State was down by 14 points at halftime but only outscored the Grizzlies 42-35 in the second half. Harding added 22 points to the weekend while Cody John chipped in 14 points for Weber State.
Previous Ranking: 5
Next Up: vs. Portland State (8-11, 3-5 Big Sky), Thursday at 7 p.m. They will host Sacramento State (8-9, 2-6 Big Sky) on Saturday at 7 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 237. Both games will be broadcast on Pluto TV channel 235.
6. Southern Utah Thunderbirds (9-8, 4-4 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Ranking: -5.4, No. 274 (Down 1 Spot)
Losses: at Northern Colorado (1.4 BPI, No. 146)
Strength of Record: 196 (Down 7 Spots)
Recap: The Thunderbirds had to dig themselves out of a 15-point deficit at halftime. They came up short, falling to the Bears 79-68. Brandon Better scored 22 points to lead SUU. Harrison Butler added 15 points off the bench along with Maizen Fausett’s 10.
Previous Ranking: 6
Next Up: at Northern Arizona (5-13, 3-5 Big Sky), Monday at 12 p.m. They will travel to Eastern Washington (6-13, 4-4 Big Sky) on Saturday at 3 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on Pluto TV.