Utah Utes (17-9) vs. UCLA Bruins (19-8)
When and Where: Thursday, February 22, Salt Lake City, Utah, 9.00 PM EST
Another interesting Thursday matchup in Pac-12, tips off at John M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City as 9-6 Utes host the 10-5 Bruins in the battle for better conference-tournament position. The Utes are coming off from two consecutive road wins against Washington and Washington State while the Bruins recorded two straight home wins, over Oregon State and Oregon. The latter one went to OT but UCLA managed to stay on top. This game presents more importance to the home team because the loss would definitely set them further away from catching the Bruins.
The Bruins in search of third road win of the season
The constantly poor visitors this season, the UCLA Bruins proved that they can take out almost about anyone when they are up on the right foot with that road win over Arizona Wildcats couple a weeks ago but the loss by the Sun Devils that followed also showed the unpredictable nature of Steve Alford’s squad. The team averages 82.6 points per game on offense (28th in the league) while allowing 76.0 points per duel to their opponents (269th in NCAA). The squad also limits its opponents to 42.1 field goal percentage which is 77th best nationally.
Junior guard, Aaron Holiday leads the Bruins on the top scoring list by averaging 19.4 points per match, while also adding team-high 5.7 assists and solid 3.4 boards per game. Freshman Kris Wilkes follows with 13.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per duel while senior center Thomas Welsh presents the team’s defensive leader by averaging a double-double with 13.1 points and team-high 10.7 boards per contest. Another freshman, Jaylen Hands concludes the double-digit scoring list with 10.7 points per duel. In a win over the Ducks, Holiday led the team with 29 points while Wilkes added 19.
The Utes aim fifth straight win
The Utah Utes are currently riding a four-game winning streak that started at home against Stanford and continued with a home win over California and during their trip to the State of Washington where they took down both the Huskies and the Cougars. They had a couple of hiccups lately with losses against Arizona and Colorado, but the team has enough juice to play a serious role in the Pac-12 tournament. Offensively, the Utes average 74.3 points per game (165th in the NCAA) while allowing 68.8 points to their rivals (86th in the country).
Four Utes are averaging double scoring digits this year with senior guard Justin Bibbins leading the way by scoring 14.1 points per match and team-high 4.8 assists. David Collette adds 12.8 points while Tyler Rawson gets 10.9 points on average. Rawson is squad’s defensive leader with team-high 6.7 boards per contest on his account. Two remaining notable scorers are Donnie Tillman (8.4 ppg) and Sedrick Barefield (11.2 ppg). In a win over the Cougars, Bibbins led the team with 24 points while Rawson added 15.
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games.
- 1-6-1 O/U in their eight games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight up win.
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 1-4 O/U in their last five games overall.
The Utes should have an ATS advantage over the Bruins on Thursday, but according to trends, Under in Totals looks to be much safer option and preferably, you should go there primarily.