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Utah Utes basketball reaches 20 wins for first time since 2008

For the first time in a long time, the Utah Utes basketball team has 20 wins in a season.

Utah forward Jordan Loveridge.
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Stop the presses -- because the Utes (20-9 overall) are thinking about making it as far as the NCAA Tournament after a thrilling 63-59 win at California on Wednesday, March 5.

In order to make it to the Big Dance, however, the Utes still have some work to do. Utah plays Stanford, ranked No. 35 in RPI later this week -- before heading to the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas.

With the big win over Cal the Utes are 9-7 in conference play -- in a four-way tie for fifth place.

Were the Utes to defeat the Cardinal it would be 10-7 in conference -- giving Utah an opportunity to move into the top four seeds in the tournament -- if Colorado or Arizona State were to lose its final game.

Getting a first-round bye in Las Vegas would be huge for Utah -- because it means the Utes could avoid Arizona or UCLA a bit longer.

Back to what is important right now: A loss against Stanford would not only drop the Utes‘ conference tournament seeding -- it would also likely spell the end to Utah‘s NCAA hopes due to the Utes‘ RPI.

So while the Utes are halfway to earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament it still has a ways to go to get there.

But beating Cal, ranked No. 51 in the latest RPI on Wednesday night in Haas Pavilion in Berkeley was a great start.

The Utes, who were the No. 85 team in last week’s RPI have now moved up to No. 75 as of Thursday, March 6.