Utah (17-7) at UCLA (19-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pauley Pavilion (13,800) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Utah 16-1, UCLA 14-1. Away Record: Utah 1-6, UCLA 3-3. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, UCLA 2-1. Conference Record: Utah 6-6, UCLA 8-3. Series Record: UCLA leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off their first road win of the season, the Utah Utes face a real challenge in their quest for a second as they visit the UCLA Bruins in a Pac-12 Conference conflict at Pauley Pavilion.
A 79-71 win at the Galen Center over last-place USC on Thursday finally got Utah into the win column as a visiting team (1-6). Thanks to their success at home (16-1), the Utes are an impressive 17-7 overall this season, but they have been much more uneven in league play (6-6). They begin a three-game homestand against second-ranked Arizona next.
UCLA shook off a slow first half and ran past Colorado, 92-74, on Thursday night. The Bruins have won five of their last six games to improve to 19-5 overall and 8-3 in league play, good enough for second place in the conference standings. They have also excelled at home (14-1), but they visit California in their next bout.
Jordan Loveridge scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds when these teams met earlier this season. Loveridge's Utes claimed a 74-69 upset win in the contest, marking the first victory for Utah against UCLA as a league rival. The Bruins lead the overall series, 6-5.
Delon Wright stuffed the stat sheet yet again, tallying 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists to lead Utah past USC a couple of nights ago. The Utes doubled up the Trojans from 3-point range (30-15), while shooting a solid 45.3 percent from the floor overall.
Utah rarely takes bad shots, putting a premium on efficient shooting. In fact, the Utes are third in the country in field goal percentage (.502), which has helped them to the third-best scoring average (79.3) in the Pac-12. Wright (16.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.4 apg, 2.8 spg) and Loveridge (16 ppg, 7.8 rpg) are the major contributors to the Utes' efforts. Wright is a versatile performer on the wing, as one of two players in the Pac-12 averaging at least 15 ppg, 6 rpg and 5 apg. He is also fifth in the conference in field goal percentage. Loveridge is shooting a more pedestrian 44.5 percent from the floor, but spearheads the effort on the glass, while Brandon Taylor (10.9 ppg) provides all-important depth.
Kyle Anderson scored 22 points, handed out 11 assists and pulled down seven rebounds to help lift UCLA over Colorado. The Bruins shot 62.5 percent from the floor, including an 8-of-12 showing from 3-point range, in the second half to erase a 40-36 halftime deficit.
Joining Wright in the exclusive 15, 6, 5 club is Anderson (15.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 6.8 apg), who actually leads the conference in assists and is fourth in rebounds. He has tallied at least 12 points, 10 boards and seven assists in six games, and has a triple-double to his credit. He also scored a season-high 28 points in the earlier matchup with Utah. Jordan Adams (16.8 ppg) is still the leading scorer on the roster, while Norman Powell (11.3 ppg) and Zach LaVine (10.8 ppg) provide additional firepower. All told, there are very few teams that are lighting up the scoreboard like UCLA, which ranks in the top-10 nationally in scoring (83.3 ppg), assists (7.5 apg) and field goal percentage (.493).
On paper, Utah's shooting makes it a tough out. However, the Utes have been vulnerable on the road, and they can't afford any weakness against a UCLA team that is firing on all cylinders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 80, Utah 70
02/15 10:48:40 ET