LAS VEGAS — Always one to provide an infectious, competitive vibe, a notably quieter Mark Pope pulled his chair up to the press conference table Friday night following Utah Valley’s 75-60 loss to Grand Canyon in the WAC tournament semifinals.
“As a coach, you always have a plan for everything. Except for this. Congratulations to Grand Canyon,” the coach stated simply.
The hurt could be seen in his face, the pain apparent in his lowered voice. UVU, with six seniors on its roster, had fallen short two wins short of its goal to earn the WAC tournament’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UVU shot just 35.5 percent and hit only 3 of 19 3-pointers. While the Wolverines forced Grand Canyon into mistakes, including 15 turnovers, they did not capitalize on those opportunities throughout the night.
“This game can be so unkind at times, because sometimes it just doesn’t tell the story about your guys. Sometimes it doesn’t tell the story right. I would certainly say that’s the case tonight,” Pope said.
What does Friday’s result mean for UVU’s national postseason play chances? Within the next 48 hours, UVU will find out.
When they do, the Wolverines (22-10), who finished second in the WAC during the regular season with a 10-4 league mark, will likely have the opportunity to establish a single-season program record with one more win. They tied the school record, set in 2006-07, for single-season victories with an 81-74 win over CSU-Bakersfield in the WAC tournament quarterfinals.
Last year, there was uncertainty if UVU would be headed to national postseason play, but this year the Wolverines appear certain to earn an invitation. One day before Selection Sunday, UVU is No. 83 in the RPI rankings, No. 91 in the Ken Pomeroy rankings and No. 92 in ESPN’s BPI.
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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News