8 p.m. ET – UCLA (-1) at Utah O/U: 135½
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|UCLA||-1 (-110)||–||O 135½ (-110)|
|Utah||+1 (-110)||–||U 135½ (-110)|
The 16-5 Bruins travel to Salt Lake City to take on the 9-10 Utes on Thursday night. UCLA defeated Arizona State 80-79 for its third straight win to move into second place in the Pac-12. Utah fell to Oregon on Saturday, 67-64, for its third consecutive loss. These two teams met in Los Angeles on Dec. 31, when the Bruins squeaked out a 72-70 win. Utah shot 50 percent from the field in the previous matchup, as well as 40 percent from beyond the arc, to nearly pull off the upset.
UCLA is led by guard Johnny Juzang, who averages 13.8 points per game. Juzang had 13 points in the first matchup on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. But it is the Bruins’ improved defense under second-year coach Mick Cronin that is the biggest reason for their success. Cronin instilled a much-needed defensive intensity that took some time for the Bruins to buy into, but now it is a major component of the team’s winning mentality.
Utah is led by forward Timmy Allen, averaging 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Allen had 18 in the previous game against the Bruins on 8-of-14 from the field and the Utes will need that and more from him and his teammates to hang around again in this one. Utah has struggled offensively in recent games, averaging just 62 points over its last three games.
*Odds courtesy of MyBookie