The UCLA Bruins (14-3, 3-1) hop over the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to take on a surprising Utah Utes (13-4, 2-3) team in their second of two road games. Take warning as this is a mid-day showdown in Pac-12 hoops. Why? Probably because last year when the Bruins played at night in the SLC, a major storm hit that nearly kept them from the game (not that there is a storm expected). Thanks Pac-12 scheduling guy!
TV: Fox Sports 1
Location: John M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Tip-Off: 1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET
Odds: UCLA -2.0
Ticket Information: utahtickets.com
Preview: Did you know that Utah has a 11-1 record going into conference play? They also lost to, then ranked, the #10 Oregon Ducks on a missed last second opportunity in overtime. They just beat a lowly USC team by 18 points, but who hasn’t these days.
That does not mean they are a power house, yet. They could not handle the pressure of their Washington trip as they lost to a good Huskies team and the Cougars, a team they should have beat.
So, what kind of team are these Utes? Oddly enough, they are similar to UCLA. Utah is a team that likes to get down the floor and score some points, 81.4 per game to be accurate. They also have a very proficient offense that is up there in the stats column with UCLA.
Utah averages 17.0 assists per game (12th in the nation) while UCLA gets 17.7 apg (5th). In the field goal department, Utah is 3rd in the nation with a percentage of .512, where as UCLA is 4th in the nation with a percentage of .506. See, similar.
The Utes will rely on two guys, Jordan Loveridge and Delon Wright. Loveridge is the leading scorer and rebounder with 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. They also have their version of UCLA’s Kyle Anderson in Wright. This play maker gets 15.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 5.2 apg.
If UCLA can limit the touches of these two, the Utah offense will be shut down. Mix that with the fast game UCLA plays and the Bruins should win this one easily.
Prediction: Utah 79 – UCLA 87