Josh Newman seems like a good hire for the Utah beat:
Q: What is your best guess as to whether the Utes will make the tourney and where you think they need to be in NET ranking to get there? — @UteManG
A: I know I reference the NET almost daily, but that’s merely because it is the metrics tool being used by the NCAA. The truth is, it is still too early to get up in arms about the NET. Case in point, San Diego State is currently No. 1. For the purposes of this exercise, Utah’s NET of 48 through Monday’s games is solid, certainly better than anyone may have projected at this point in the season.
I think it’s going to be hard for Utah to make the NCAA Tournament. I say that because the Utes are an exceptionally young group, and who knows how all that youth will fare going through an 18-game league schedule for the first time. The Quadrant 3 losses to Coastal Carolina and Tulane in November are resume anchors right now.
Now, I will hedge slightly and say that after Utah gets through this next road swing of Colorado-Arizona-Arizona State, the schedule will smooth out some. I think 9-9 or 10-8 against the Pac-12 puts the Utes in the bubble mix, but it has to be the right 9-9 or 10-8.
If I told Utah fans in October that this team, with the second-youngest roster in the country, winds up in the NIT, would they have signed?
Personally, I think a NIT trip would make this season a pretty good success.