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As far as the Runnin' Utes are concerned, they have as much of a chance as anyone else to take home a title. In the NCAA Tournament field of 16 teams left, all anyone needs to do is get four more wins.
Analytic models paint the picture a little differently yet not unfavorably for Utah's championship chances.
Local statistician Ken Pomeroy, whose subscription analytics website is a go-to resource for serious basketball observers, plants Utah's chances of winning the whole thing at 5.2 percent, roughly 1-in-19 odds. The Utes rank sixth in his log5 rankings Pomeroy's algorithm that takes statistics and past results into account to predict probabilities.
It's an upgrade: KenPom previously rated Utah's title chances entering the tournament at 2 percent. The site also gauges Utah's probability of winning Friday's game against Duke at 45.6 percent.
Statistics site Five Thirty Eight also lists Utah's odds as improved, giving the Utes the ninth-best chance of winning it all at 2.3 percent, up from a starting 1.2 percent.
Of course, first things first.
"It's good that we made it," coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We'll try to earn respect on the court instead of talking about it."
Vegas Insider shows Duke is favored by 5 points on Friday. The Blue Devils have an 11.9 percent chance of winning the tournament according to Five Thirty Eight, and 7.9 percent according to KenPom.
Kentucky is the odds-on favorite, given a 36.4 percent chance by KenPom and a 41.1 percent chance by Five Thirty Eight.
There are really two kinds of households among college basketball fans: The ones who love Duke and the ones who spare no scorn for the Devils. Growing up in Canada, Dallin Bachynski said such passions didn't run high, but his family still knew where they stood.
"My mom really liked Duke," he said. "She kind of grew up watching Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski]. I was watching [Kyle] Singler when I was growing up. I'd probably say we were more for Duke, against UNC."
As much as Utah tries to approach each game the same way, it's pretty much pointless to act like the Blue Devils exist in a sort of vacuum. One of the most recognizable brands in college basketball, Duke has a polarized base of national exposure.
While not all the Utes were as open about sharing their feelings on Duke long before they were about to play them, just about all of the players recognized it's a different set-up than usual.
"You don't get to play Duke every day," Jakob Poeltl said. "It's a team and program with a lot of tradition. They've always been good. They're very good this year again. It's going to be a fun game."
Assist from Jazz
The Utah Jazz may be coached by a Duke alum in Quin Snyder, but that didn't prevent the local pro team from giving the Sweet 16-bound Utes some help on Tuesday.
Utah practiced in EnergySolutions Arena after being pushed out of the Huntsman Center by the Champions Shootout tennis event. Practicing in NBA facilities isn't really new for Utah, which practiced at the Moda Center and the Portland Trail Blazers' practice facility last week.