Nope, the sky is not falling within the Utah Utes basketball program. Despite losing a heartbreaking, chair throwing 63-57 decision to No. 7 Arizona, the Utes remained at No. 13 in the latest AP Top 25 poll and head coach Larry Krystkowiak, well, he pulled up a chair and read.
Read what, you ask? Why some good old Dr. Seuss–with a twist. On Mon. March 2 during his weekly press conference, Coach K turned ringmaster/puppeteer/story teller for a moment, reading from his massive library of children’s books and turned one into a piece of basketball-centric literary fiction.
He also said stuff like, “We still have a good team” and presumably he meant by that statement his team going into March and the NCAA Tournament. Yet when you’re reading into the new Coach K, well, life is like a box of chocolates some MUSS rep just gave him–but that he might not like because the box with a giant red ribbon seemed too foofy.
Those would probably go to his wife while he and some staffers would go out early in the morning before the dreaded Arizona game, building a fire for hearty Ute fans brave enough to weather cold temps to buy a ticket. (That really happened.) Some doctor from Switzerland who in his latter days wrote kids books is apparently worth his weight in gold also.
And so Coach K sat at a table adorned in a foofy red ribbon looking skirt and read. And he read and read until his players faces turned red. He said, “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes,” his guttural Montana accent echoing throughout the room like an echo wafting through the Continental Divide during a wind storm.
“You can steer yourself in any direction you choose,” he continued in his basketball-tinged address to his team while journalists sat fidgeting in their chairs, waiting for a howling Arctic blast from a coach whose team just lost arguably the most important game a Utah basketball team has played in decades.
Instead, Krystkowiak let go of the reins for a moment, this son of some of the most unforgiving country known to man doing something completely unorthodox–having some sort of Phil Jackson-meets-Dr. Theodore Geisel moment.
Instead, Utah’s Coach K hereby closed the book and 2015 chapter on a fatherly note, pointing these kids in their own direction. “You’re on your own and you know what you know…and you are the one to decide where you go.”
Where the Utes will head is anyone’s guess at this point. Obviously, they’ll go to the NCAA Tournament; what seed they’ll get depends on how they do at the upcoming Pac-12 basketball tournament in Las Vegas.
Right now, ESPN’s Bracketology has Utah as a four seed–same as last week. Same with USA Today and Yahoo!–this according to Deseret News reporter Ryan Miller. Of course, there’s always some rotten apple in the bunch, like CBS Sports who thinks the Utes are a six seed.
If the Utes are a six seed, then you have to be sure Coach K would change his tone to something a bit more unruly and turn into a howling, windy crudstorm than someone so mild and milquetoast. And so the sky is definitely not falling in Uteville, not for Krystkowiak nor for the players he addressed with a whimsical little reminder on Monday afternoon.