The UCLA Bruins‘ season of misery continues this afternoon as the Bruins host the Utah Runnin’ Utes at 2:00 pm PT at Pauley Pavilion.
The Utes are coming into Pauley looking for their fourth consecutive road win after a huge win against the Southern Cal Trojans Wednesday night. The victory Wednesday came after back-to-back home losses to the Oregon schools the week prior. Wednesday’s win also put Utah in a four-way tie for second place in the Pac-12 Conference where it seems that any team other than Washington can lose on any given night.
The Utes are led by Larry Krystkowiak, one of, if not, the best coach in the Pac-12. Year after year, Krystkowiak seems to always have the Utes in the mix in the Pac-12 and this year is no exception.
Utah is led by Centennial High School product, Sedrick Barefield. Barefield is 8th in scoring in the Pac-12, averaging 16.1 ppg. Barefield gets a lot of his points from behind the arc as he is hitting 40% from three this year.
Speaking of shooting behind the arc, Utah is leading the conference in three-point shooting percentage, averaging 37.6% from behind the arc this year. The Utes have four shooters in the top 20 in the Pac-12 in three-point shooting percentage, while the Bruins don’t have any.
Utah is turning into a pretty balanced team as shown in their win Wednesday night. Super athletic guard Both Gach started his first Pac-12 game Wednesday night in place of Parker Van Dyke and finished with 15 points. Utah actually looked really good in the game when he had the ball in his hands. The way Gach plays, it seems like a no-brainer that he will continue to start. Gach likes to penetrate and slash with the ball in his hands and could potentially give the Bruins problems.
Utah’s leading rebounder, Jayce Johnson had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds agaisnt Southern Cal. Jonson’s offensive game isn’t exactly diverse and refined, but he is a big body down low. Utah’s balanced attack Wednesday also included 13 points from Barefield. Donnie Tillman added 12 with Riley Battin and Parker Van Dyke each adding nine.
We can only hope this nationally televised game does not turn into the embarrassment UCLA’s last nationally televised game against Washington turned into.
So, to sum today’s game up, we have a superbly coached team, the Utes, coming into Pauley to play a Bruins team that is not very well coached. It’s a recipe for disaster, right? Add to the mix the Bruins and their sometimes porous zone defense matched up against a number of skilled Utah shooters further adds to some potential problems. With that being said, if we have learned anything so far from Pac-12 play, it’s that any team can beat any team, well, unless that team you are playing is the Washington Huskies. And you can especially beat the team you are playing if it happens to be the UC Berkeley Golden Bears.