Saturday, January 19, 2008


Of all the schools in the Southern Conference, a conference in which I take a fierce and partisan pride, there was not team I would rather play again than the Keydets of Virginia Military Institute. Pat Conroy.

Every school has its rival. That school that makes the announcers always say, "you can throw the records out when these two schools meet." Utah has 1595 victories, this places them 12th on the all time list, BYU has 1526 this place them 21st. Importantly, this rivalry has a state vs. religion dimension that can only be found here.

In every game we played against VMI, the Keydets came at us hard and fast from the opening tip-off. Conroy on playing against VMI.

On a college basketball scale the BYU/Utah rivalry is as good as any in the country. Most would argue Duke vs. North Carolina is the best and on a national scale this is probably the case. However, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils have met only 212 times. Since 1909 BYU and Utah have met on the college basketball court 245 times. My own research suggests this is second to only Kansas and Kansas State teams that have played 255 times.

The pre World War II portion of the series was owned by BYU which won 64 of 99 contests. Throughout most of the 1920's and 30's the teams met four and sometimes even five times a season. It took Utah until 1913 to even win a game against their southern rivals. Utah experienced a brilliant turnaround after World War II. The nineties were dominated by Rick Majerus' and Utah, with Majerus as their coach Utah went 21-9 against BYU. Entering today's game, Utah owns a 124-121 edge.

I never thought someone from Wyoming could land a seat five rows up at center court for a BYU/Utah game, but through someone who knew someone who found out that how much I loved the game that's where I sit for meeting number 246 between these schools.

Jocks are second-class citizens in every military college in this country and in a secret, wordless accordance we acknowledged our aggrieved station in the chain of command by playing our best games against each other for the honor of our schools. Pat Conroy.

Certainly, BYU and Utah save their best games for each other the same way the Citadel saved its best for VMI. This game is hard fought, both teams struggle shooting during the first half as BYU makes just 9 of 26 field goal attempts. Utah is only 9 of 23 at the half and BYU gains a 3 point advantage. The second half is similarly hard played, with the same result. For the game, BYU shoots 38% and with 33 second remaining has a one point advantage. Tyler Kepkay's runner misses everything with five seconds remaining, and Utah fouls BYU's Lee Cummard who finishes with 18 points after making both free throws. Kepkay has a late chance for a three pointer but this also misses and BYU changes the series score to 124-122 in favor of Utah.

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