Utah is a historically relevant program that's been off the national radar for a while because the Utes haven't made the NCAA tournament since 2009. Hell, they haven't even finished with a winning record since 2009. So, I admit, I haven't thought about them much lately.
But I'm thinking about them now.
Granted, I'm not sure they're about to challenge for a Pac-12 title or snap that streak of NCAA tournament misses; it's probably still too early to tell. But Utah is 9-1 with the lone loss coming on the road to a Boise State team that started the season 8-0, and the Utes are coming off of an 81-64 win over BYU in a rivalry game in which Jordan Loveridge finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five steals in 38 minutes. Combine that with the sophomore's 27-point, seven-rebound, four-assist effort in a win over Idaho State, and Loveridge averaged 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two wins last week, which is enough to make him the CBSSports.com National Player of the Week .
"Utah basketball is back," Loveridge told reporters after Utah beat BYU for just the second time in the past 13 meetings between the instate rivals, according to the AP. "We're heading in the right direction everyday, and we're only going to go up from here."
Now I know what lots of you are thinking: Who is Jordan Loveridge?
Answer: He's a 6-foot-6 wing who had a nice freshmen season -- Loveridge averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds last year -- despite not even being a Top 100 national recruit, according to 247Sports. Loveridge was rated 118th in the Class of 2012, to be exact. But now he's averaging 17.6 points and 9.5 rebounds, and he might just end up being the player who ultimately makes Utah nationally relevant again.