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Could the Utah-BYU rivalry series be coming to an end?

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Utah’s non-conference schedule this season has taken plenty of heat.

They kicked off their season against something called Evergreen. On Dec. 28th, they play something known as St. Katherine’s. In between those two non-conference bookends, the Utes have 10 games on their schedule. None of them are against high-major opponents. Only one of them is a road game, and, at most, two of those teams could earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, although that’s anything-but a given.

Struggling with the likes of Idaho State isn’t exactly going to be keeping Utah fans happy.

But the bigger issue isn’t what’s on the non-conference schedule, it’s what is not on it. Specifically, Utah State and Weber State.

Utah is a basketball state, especially at the collegiate level. They care about their teams, whether they are Aggies, Cougars, Wildcats or Utes, and while it’s not quite on the same level as the folks in Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana, it’s really not all that far behind.

And Utah didn’t play Utah State or Weber State this season. They play not play them in the future either, as deals to extend those rivalries have not been easy to come by. Krystkowiak doesn’t want to play those games on the road, and it’s understandable. They’re very, very loseable, and while dropping a road game early in the season to a rival is certainly understandable, the NCAA tournament selection committee isn’t as understanding. Those losses could hurt on future Selection Sundays.

Utah still plays BYU. This season, it’s at the Huntsman Center. Next year, it will be at the Marriott Center. But after that? Well, it may not exist anymore, either. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

on his weekly coaches show on KSL Radio on Tuesday night, BYU coach Dave Rose said talks to continue the series beyond that have stalled.

“Coach [Jim] Boylen and I put that [four-game agreement] together. We were both really excited to continue the series even though the conferences were going in different directions,” Rose said. “In the last two years, as we have played through this contract, we have had discussions about extending the contract, but right now, we are kinda stalled. These may be the last two games we get.”

“Really?” host Greg Wrubell asked, incredulously.

“Yeah,” Rose said.

The Utes have said recently they won’t do home-and-homes with Utah State and Weber State any more, and now it appears they don’t want to give them to BYU, either.

Hopefully, this all gets worked out.

Rivalry games in November are a good thing for the sport. Non-conference games that people care about, that bring attention to the sport. For a coach, they bring attention to your team. They get fans in the seats and eyeballs on the TV.

More importantly, getting experience playing in a tough road environment before league play starts will help make a team better.

And what’s tougher than a road environment against a rival?

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown:

Niang, Morris lead No. 14 Iowa State past No. 24 Texas

Iowa State forward Georges Niang drives past Texas guard Tevin Mack, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After falling at Texas Tech for the second straight season midweek, No. 14 Iowa State needed to bounce back with No. 24 Texas visiting Hilton Coliseum. The return of Jameel McKay, who was suspended for two games, certainly helped the Cyclones and the play of Georges Niang and Monte Morris was key as well. But the biggest difference on this night was the fact that Iowa State was able to limit the effectiveness of Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor.

 

Taylor scored just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field, and with Morris and Niang scoring 24 points apiece the Cyclones won by the final score of 85-75.

Taylor had multiple opportunities to make plays around the basket thanks to his ability to beat defenders off the bounce, but he struggled to finish. Add in a 0-for-4 night from three, and Texas’ most dangerous offensive option was unable to duplicate his performance in the first meeting between the two teams. In Texas’ 94-91 overtime win over the Cyclones January 12, Taylor scored 28 points and dished out six assists with just one turnover, shooting 11-for-17 from the field.

Four Longhorns finished in double figures, with Tevin Mack and Javan Felix scoring 18 apiece, but with Morris decisively winning the point guard matchup Texas was unable to pick up the win on the road.

For Iowa State the aforementioned tandem of Morris and Niang performed as they did in the first meeting, which should come as no surprise. What helped them, especially when it came to Texas attacking the basket, was the presence of McKay. McKay finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes of action, and to have their best interior defender back on the floor certainly helped the Cyclones on this night.

With their lack of depth Iowa State’s margin for error is small, especially when it comes to foul trouble, injuries and disciplinary reasons. Even with Texas’ size advantage Iowa State outscored them in the paint 48-34, and McKay’s defensive ability factored into that. The Cyclones can put points on the board with the best of them, but at some point they’ll need to string together stops as the games get even bigger.

Iowa State managed to do that down the stretch, with Morris and Niang running the show offensively. And that’s a good formula to be able to rely upon as the season approaches its most important month.