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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 9:06 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MGM Grand Garden Arena (16,800) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Utah 11-7, California 11-5. Away Record: Utah 2-10, California 6-5. Neutral Record: Utah 1-0, California 3-0. Conference Record: Utah 5-13, California 12-6. Series Record: California leads, 13-8.
GAMES NOTES: After already knocking off a higher seed in the first round, the 10th-seed Utah Utes will challenge Pac-12 Player of the Year Allen Crabbe and the second-seed California Golden Bears in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In the first round the Utes toppled seventh-seed USC, 69-66, to advance. This is just the second season in the league for the Utes who failed to get out of the opening round a year ago. Utah has now won three straight games, including an impressive 72-62 victory over Oregon in the regular-season finale.
The Golden Bears resurrected their season using wins in nine of their last 11 games to put themselves in this position. The Golden Bears finished up the regular season at 20-10 overall and 12-6 in league action to grab the second seed and a bye in the first round. California was also the second seed a year ago, its highest in tournament history, but fell to eventual champion Colorado as its quest for its first tournament championship was denied.
California won both of the meetings between these two team in the regular season with the most recent a 64-46 triumph at Haas Pavilion at the end of February. California also leads the all-time series by a 13-8 margin.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of the Washington/Oregon game in semifinal action on Friday.
Jarred DuBoise took over in the second half and scored 15 of his game-high 22 points to lead Utah over USC. Utah was dominated in the paint and outscored 42-14 but the Utes held on by outscoring the Trojans from beyond the arc (21-9) and the free-throw line (18-7).
Utah is the lowest scoring team in the Pac-12, putting in just 64.3 points per game while shooting the seventh best percentage from the field (.443) among league teams. Utah also struggles on the boards (34.5 rpg) where it ranks 11th in the Pac-12. Defensively the Utes can hang with most squads as they hold teams to less than 40 percent shooting. DuBois (12.6 ppg) and Jordan Loveridge (12.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are the top scoring options on the roster. The pair combined to score 37 of the team's 69 points against USC. Jason Washburn (11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is another double figure scorer who shoots at a 55 percent clip from the field.
An 83-70 disappointment in the regular-season finale against rival Stanford left the Golden Bears with a sour taste in their mouths to close the campaign. Despite 24 points from Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, the Golden Bears were still done in with sizable deficits from beyond the arc (27-9) and the free-throw line (26-15).
Crabbe (18.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) has grabbed all the headlines for the Golden Bears during their rise, and rightfully so. Crabbe scored 20 points or more in 14 games this season including a pair of 30-point efforts. He did sputter a bit at the end of the season, failing to score in double figures twice in the last four games after doing so only once the rest of the year. Cobbs (15.1 ppg, 4.8 apg) is a potent scorer in his own right but has taken on more of a complimentary role. In the frontcourt David Kravish (8.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg) and Richard Solomon (8.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 rpg) are each solid performers.
Utah couldn't take down California in the regular season. With how well the Golden Bears have been playing down the stretch there isn't much reason to believe that will change.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 73, Utah 64
03/14 10:32:32 ET
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