Mike Sorensen: Hill has decision to make with Giacoletti

first_imgE-mail: [email protected] Now that we have the NBA All-Star Game and Daytona 500 out of the way, let’s turn our attention to other matters, such as college basketball …As each defeat piles up, Utah athletic director Chris Hill has to be losing sleep over what to do about his basketball program next year. The Utes are likely to end up with the worst record in more than 20 years and could end up with the worst record in more than 30 years (they aren’t likely to be worse than the 8-19 team of 1972-73).For much of the season, I’ve thought that coach Ray Giacoletti would be given at least another year to get him halfway through his seven-year contract. However, no matter how much Hill likes Giacoletti or believes in giving him more time to build his program, the two biggest factors in the decision may be the declining attendance and the lack of support from big-money donors. The 8,394 paid attendance Saturday has to be the lowest in 30 years and the season average of about 9,500 is the lowest in 31 years. And some of the Utes’ top donors are apparently not very happy with the direction of the program …One of those big donors, Jon Huntsman, attended only his second game of the season Saturday at the building named after him. He left by halftime, not because the Utes were losing but rather because of a minor medical issue that required attention …The fans on the fire-Giacoletti bandwagon who expect a quick decision from Hill the week of the MWC Tournament may have forgotten that the Utah athletic director will have other matters on his mind that week. As a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee, he’ll be holed up for several days in Indianapolis figuring out who should go to the NCAA Tournament …It’s too bad for the Utes they aren’t a bubble team this year.With wins over top teams like Washington State, Virginia and Air Force, they probably have more “quality” wins than they’ve had in several years. It kind of hurts, though, when you have 16 losses …BYU continues to be the hottest team in the MWC and should make the NCAA Tournament thanks to its high RPI number. However, the Cougars shouldn’t start thinking about a trophy and No. 1 seed for the MWC tournament yet. The Cougars still have to play at San Diego State on Saturday and at Air Force the following Tuesday …Knowing there’s still a couple of weeks to go in the Mountain West Conference season, my vote for player of the year right now would go to BYU forward Keena Young, who wasn’t even on the all-MWC preseason team …Utah’s two games this week will likely determine whether it has to play in the PIG (play-in game) at the MWC Tournament. The Utes face Wyoming on the road Wednesday and New Mexico at home Saturday and a win in the latter game will likely keep them from playing Tuesday in Las Vegas instead of Thursday …How about Utah State overcoming deficits of 14-0 and 22-4 to come back and win its “bracket buster” game against Oral Roberts Saturday?With a 20-7 mark, the Aggies have a chance to make the NCAAs again, but with Nevada and New Mexico State still ahead in the WAC standings, the Aggies may need to win the conference tournament to make the Big Dance …Congrats to Randy Rahe for winning the Big Sky Conference title in his first year as Weber State coach …Getting back to the All-Star game, I admit some of the festivities are getting stale. But that doesn’t mean they should stop holding the dunk contest or the 3-point contest, which can still be entertaining to watch. Perhaps the most boring thing of all is the actual game.What I’m still wondering is why Mehmet Okur wasn’t invited for the 3-point competition? He’s made about twice as many 3-pointers this year as Dirk Nowitzki, who was one of two Dallas participants. But I don’t want to sound like a paranoid Utah sports fan. At last Okur was invited to play in the game, even if it was in the second go-around for all-star injury replacements. last_img