E-mail: [email protected] Long gone are the days when Utah and BYU would play their annual basketball games on Saturday night with no extra games during the week to spoil the buildup to the big game.Thanks to expanded leagues with unbalanced numbers, the Utes and Cougars have been playing on Thursdays and Mondays, in addition to Saturdays in recent years.But in the 97-year, 240-game history of the series have they ever played on a Wednesday before, as they are tomorrow night?Yes.Just once.It happened back in 1984, on the same date, February 8. BYU won the game 82-79 in Salt Lake in what was the first year for coaches Ladell Andersen of BYU and Lynn Archibald of Utah.Of the 240 pervious games in the series, the majority were played on Saturdays (144), followed by Fridays (70). Thirteen games have been played on Thursdays, 10 on Mondays, with two, in 1995 and 1996, on Tuesday.Of course, no Utah-BYU games have ever been played on a Sunday.BEEN A LONG TIME: The last time BYU defeated Utah in Salt Lake most of the current players on the two teams were in elementary school. Utah’s Shaun Green and BYU’s Jackson Emery were in first grade at the time.It happened clear back in 1994 when freshman Robbie Reid dropped a long 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to give the Cougars a 64-62 victory. Since then the Utes have won seven times in Provo.BYU has had its chances, particularly two years ago when the Cougars took a 17-point second-half lead, only to lose 64-56. That was Utah’s first game after Rick Majerus left the team and assistant Kerry Rupp filled in.Seven of the games were decided by nine points or less. The closest game since ’94 was a 71-66 Ute win in 2002, while the largest margin was the 85-49 win in 1997 over the 1-25 Cougar squad.During the past 12 years, the Utes have won seven times in Provo.NO POWS: For eight of the past 12 years, a Utah player has garnered player of the year honors in the WAC or Mountain West Conference.It obviously isn’t going to happen this year with the Utes struggling in seventh place and no outstanding player.In fact, the way things are going, the Utes might go an entire season without a single player of the week honor. But neither have UNLV, New Mexico or TCU.San Diego State has earned five player of the week honors, followed by three apiece for Air Force and Wyoming and two each for BYU and Colorado State.ON THE MINUS SIDE: Thanks to Colorado State and TCU, the Utes are likely to avoid the dreaded 8 vs. 9 Tuesday night “play-in” game at the MWC Tournament. The Rams and Horned Frogs are tied for last with one league victory and are both minus-3 in the all-important home-loss, road-win standings.The Utes are minus-1 with one road win and two home losses, tied with Wyoming and New Mexico, who are both minus-1, although they are both a game ahead in the regular standings.The other four teams are on the plus side, led by San Diego State at plus-4 (four road wins, no home losses).If Utah wins all of its home games and loses its road games, it will end up at 7-9 in the MWC.UTE NOTES: Wednesday’s game will be televised on KJZZ-TV at 7 p.m . . . Turnovers continue to plague the Ute basketball team. The Utes are last in the MWC in turnover margin at minus-3.35 . . . One of the strengths of this year’s team is rebounding. Utah was leading the MWC a couple of weeks ago and is now third in rebounding margin at plus-4.6, just behind Wyoming and San Diego State at plus-4.8 . . . Chris Jackson continues to lead the MWC in field goal percentage at 75.9 percent . . . After starting against TCU and scoring five points with three assists, Casey Iverson hasn’t played in the last two games . . . The Utes play San Diego State in San Diego Saturday at 1 p.m. MST.
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