(25) UCLA (14-3) at Utah (13-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jon M.Huntsman Center (15,000) -- Salt Lake City, Utah. Television: FS1. Home Record: UCLA 11-1, Utah 13-1. Away Record: UCLA 1-1, Utah 0-3. Neutral Record: UCLA 2-1, Utah 0-0. Conference Record: UCLA 3-1, Utah 2-3. Series Record: UCLA leads, 6-4.
GAME NOTES: The 25th-ranked UCLA Bruins will try to wrap up a quick road swing with a win, as they face the Utah Utes in a Pac-12 Conference clash at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday.
The Bruins came off a five-game homestand to take down depleted and 21st- ranked Colorado in a 69-56 final on Thursday night. The win was the second straight for the Bruins, who are 14-3 on the season and 3-1 in league action. They will host Stanford and California in their next two contests.
As for Utah, it managed to end a two-game slide on Thursday with a convincing 84-66 triumph over USC. The Utes, who had lost three of their previous four games, are now 13-4 overall, which includes an incredible 13-1 mark at home. They will begin a three-game road trip next against Arizona State.
UCLA has won both meetings since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The victories broke a tie in the all-time series, which the Bruins now lead, 6-4.
Turnovers keyed UCLA to victory over Colorado. The Bruins forced 17 miscues from the Buffaloes, who were without leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie, and had a 20-7 edge in points off those takeaways. Jordan Adams had a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds), while Norman Powell scored a team-high 19 points.
Although it came in a victory, the 69-point effort the Bruins put forth against Colorado was far below their normal production. UCLA is ranked second in the Pac-12 and 10th nationally in scoring (85.3 ppg), while among the top five in assists (17.7 apg) and field goal percentage (.506). Adams (17.8 ppg, 3.4 spg) heads up the offensive efforts, while also proving to be a defensive force, ranking atop of the Pac-12 in steals. Kyle Anderson (14.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 6.5 apg) uses his length to provide versatility, and Powell (11.2 ppg) is also counted on in the backcourt. Zach LaVine (12.4 ppg) has made a name for himself as the top option off the bench.
Taking advantage of their opponent's mistakes was also a major reason for Utah's most recent victory. The Utes had a 27-14 scoring advantage off of turnovers against USC en route to the 18-point decision. Delon Wright poured in 22 points and also collected six steals to pace the squad.
Utah has a track record that would indicate it can hang with UCLA on offense. The Utes are netting 81.4 ppg and are also among the top-20 teams in the country in assists (17 apg), while ranking second in field goal percentage (.512). They have also put forth strong defensive efforts, allowing just 60.6 ppg on 39.1 percent shooting. Jordan Loveridge (16.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg) is the top scoring option and one of the better rebounders in the conference. Wright (15.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2.7 spg) gives Anderson a run for his money in the versatility department, while leading the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.643). Brandon Taylor (10.5 ppg) provides added scoring depth.
It has been a real challenge to defeat Utah at home. With the inside-outside tandem of Wright and Loveridge, the Utes may have enough to get past the Bruins, especially if some other players on the roster can make timely plays.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah 78, UCLA 76
01/18 10:22:37 ET