If there were an award given to the team that has provided the most entertainment value, I have to believe the Utah Utes would make that short list. Thus far this season, Larry Krystkowiak's men have already played San Diego State, Wichita State, Brigham Young and Kansas, and all of those games came down to the final minute. If you enjoy close games involving top-quality combatants, the 7-2 Utes are for you.
And while we're on the subject of awards, it occurs to me that Utah point guard Delon Wright has made one very compelling case for first-team All-America honors. Start with the fact that the 6-foot-5 senior is quite simply an outstanding scoring point guard. In the Utes' past three games -- against the Shockers, Cougars and Jayhawks -- Wright's been on the floor for 187 possessions, and in that time, he dished 14 assists while scoring 52 points on 19-of-26 shooting inside the arc. He draws more than five fouls per 40 minutes, and he's shooting 76 percent at the line. And this season, Wright has apparently achieved respectability from beyond the arc, averaging a couple of attempts per contest from out there, knocking them down at a 35 percent rate.
Then, add in the fact that on defense, Wright is a tireless tormentor of opposing teams. His steal percentage last season ranked in the top 30 nationally, and in the aforementioned 187 possessions against top competition, he recorded four blocks (including one particularly spectacular rejection during the Utes' second-half run against KU). His point guard duties keep him off the offensive glass, but Wright is in effect his team's second option for a defensive rebound after 7-foot freshman Jakob Poeltl.
I put it to you that this is one comprehensive body of work, and it's no mistake that in terms of minutes, Utah's rotation this season can be summarized as Wright and four other guys. (Though this may change when Jordan Loveridge returns from his hamstring injury.) There may be other point guards who can match Wright's impact on offense (Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, for example), and there may be other guards who can contribute as much defensively as the Utah senior (Ohio State's Shannon Scott comes to mind). But is there another guard nationally who makes a bigger difference for his team on both sides of the ball? If so, let me know.