The Runnin’ Utes are in the middle of a four-game winning streak as well as a four-game home winning streak. Utah is tough at home. They are 10-2 at home this season.
Meanwhile, UCLA has had it rough on the road. The Bruins are just 2-5 on the road this season.
Since the Bruins and Runnin’ Utes met last month, Utah has won 7 and lost 3. Their losses came to Southern Cal, Arizona and Colorado while they defeated Arizona State, Stanford, UC Berkeley along with Washington and Washington State twice each.
Their projected starting lineup for tonight’s game hasn’t really changed. The core of the Utes’ starters are still Justin Bibbins, Sedrick Barefield, David Collette and Tyler Rawson. The one change in the projected lineup is that Gabe Bealer will now probably come off the bench and in his place will be guard Parker Van Dyke.
While Collette was leading the Utes in scoring when they visited Westwood in January, Bibbins is now leading the team in scoring. In fact, Bibbins has gone from averaging 13.7 ppg last month to averaging 14.2 ppg now. Barefield has also been scoring more as well. He’s increased his average by a full point per game from 11.2 to 12.2.
The key to this game for the Bruins is likely to be three-point shooting. This is the only area where the Bruins are outperforming the Utes offensively. So, if UCLA can outshoot the Utes from long-range, the Bruins should win.
Of course, the other big factor will be the UCLA defense. The Bruins need to disrupt the Utes’ offense and hold Utah’s overall shooting percentage lower than UCLA’s because, if Utah is hitting their shots, it could be a long night for the Bruins. Of course, that could also mean that it could come down to free throws and UCLA doesn’t want that either as Utah is a better free throw shooting team than UCLA.