I have always enjoyed roller coasters. They are the one type of ride I will make sure I ride when I go to a theme park. However, I am not a big fan of my favorite sports teams going through a roller coaster of a season. I enjoy exciting games, but I want my teams to simply be on a gradual trip upwards with constant improvement all while working towards a shot at the title.
The Ute’s basketball season has been a perfect example of a roller coaster season. The season started with a sharp upward trend. They were beating inferior teams. The Utes matched their total wins record from last season quickly. All was looking good. The climb up however climaxed with the close losses early on in the Pac-12 and then dropped like a rock with a huge loss to Stanford.
If you read Block U, you could easily see what this season has been like. With game reactions that had the Utes showing promise and others that said the team had given up. But somehow the team continued to fight and eventually respond, closing the season with their first two game win streak in the Pac-12. The momentum continued with a win over USC in the first round of the Pac-12 tourney. Now the Utes will face Cal and even Jared Dubois admitted it would be a tough game for the Utes to win.
In looking at the season there have been ups and downs, but there has been one thing that has stood out as a great success. Larry Krystkowiak. This has become even more apparent with Ty Corbin sounding like a fool as of late (Opps, I am not qualified to say that.). There are two things that have made me a believer in Coach K. First, he will admit his mistakes. After the USC game ended he admitted, when being interviewed by the Pac-12 Network, that he had made a mistake by not fouling to end the game. This would have prevented any 3-pt shot by USC.
Second, he has a clear way of players earning playing time. The Utes are a very young team. Coach Krystkowiak knows this and has allowed his young players to earn playing time. Prime examples of this would be Bradon Taylor, Dakari Tucker, and Jeremy Olsen. At different times during the season these players were riding the pine. They have each been given opportunities to prove themselves and earn more playing time. As they have proved themselves, Krsytkowiak has given them more minutes and these players have solidified their roles with the team.
Larry Krsytkowiak summed this team up very well with the below quote:
This team has grown and matured over the last three months. We’re very young, and I think we’ve had to figure out a way to win games. This is the result of a lot of lessons learned. I think I’ve had to learn some things as well. This is a team that didn’t win a lot of games last year.
This team is young and improving. It has fought back from the lows and is looking to end this season on a high. They have already done more than I was expecting. Whether this season ends tonight or some other night, it has been a fun roller coaster ride of a season and I am only looking forward to getting on the ride again next season.