- UCLA (16-5, 12-3 Pac 12) battles Utah (9-10, 6-9 Pac 12) on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 8pm ET
- The Bruins escaped with a narrow home victory over the Utes when these teams met on New Year’s Eve
- The odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and a pick, can be found in the article below
On the final day of 2020, UCLA and Utah played an entertaining basketball game against each other, which ended with the Bruins come out on top, 72-70. On Thursday, Feb. 25 (7pm ET tip off), these Pac 12 foes will meet again while trending in different directions.
UCLA has won three in a row, while Utah has lost its past three. Now we’ll just have to see if “beating UCLA” was added to the Utes’ New Year’s resolutions.
UCLA vs Utah Odds
|UCLA||+1 (-115)||-104||Over 136.5 (-110)|
|Utah||-1 (-105)||-112||Under 136.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Feb. 24th, 2020 at FanDuel & Bet365.
How They’ve Fared Recently
After a skid of three losses in four games, UCLA is rolling again with wins against Washington (184th in KenPom), Arizona (40th) and Arizona State (90th). In their past two games, the Bruins have scored 74 and 80 points, respectively, which are both higher than any of their point totals since Jan. 16.
The Bruins play a slow game (333rd in NCAA Division I in adjusted tempo, per KenPom), but they make their offensive possessions count. They rarely turn the ball over (42nd in D-I in turnover rate, 31st in steal rate) and their adjusted efficiency ranks 26th in the nation.
… And one last look at the final-minute sequence from Saturday’s 80-79 win against Arizona State (via ESPN2 ????). #GoBruins ???????? pic.twitter.com/X2yHTuyr8W
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) February 21, 2021
Utah is probably very thankful to be back home after losing three games to end a long road trip. Most recently, the Utes lost to a really good Oregon team, 64-61, despite holding a three-point lead inside the final three minutes of play.
The Utes are proficient free throw shooters (77.6% team average, 22nd in D-I), but they don’t get to the line as much as they’d like to. And despite being a slightly taller team than UCLA, the Utes aren’t nearly as adept at rebounding.
The quarantine situation on arrival is unclear.
CDC recommendations when traveling from both Finland and Georgia are seven-day quarantines.
Utah plays tomorrow at Oregon, then home for UCLA on Feb. 25 and USC on Feb. 27.
— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) February 19, 2021
Both teams are missing some pieces right now, though Utah’s absentees are a bit more significant. Guard Rylan Jones (4.9 points, 2 rebounds per game) is doubtful with an arm injury while forward Mikael Jantunen (8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds per game) is in quarantine after helping Finland qualify for EuroBasket 2022. Both will likely be unavailable.
For UCLA, forward Jalen Hill (6.1 points, 5.5 rebounds per game) is away from the team for personal reasons. He has missed the past four games, and coach Mike Cronin has said he has no idea when Hill will return.
UCLA is 10-11 against the spread overall, and 2-6 ATS on the road. The Bruins have failed to cover in their past five games away from home, as well as their past four against teams with straight up losing records. The under has hit in four of their past six games.
Teamwork???? @IanJumaine with the ???? & @timmybuckets35 with the easy layup! ????
???? Pac-12 Network
???? https://t.co/KmPP7YQalU pic.twitter.com/2g88pqaBbU
— Utah Basketball???? (@UtahMBB) February 21, 2021
Utah is 8-11 ATS, with a 4-5 ATS home record. So neither of these teams has bested oddsmakers too often this season. The Utes have seen the under hit in three of their past five.
Some key contributors from the Dec. 31 battle between these teams, which ended 72-70 in UCLA’s favor, are missing this time around. Both Jones and Jantunen started for the Utes, combining for 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
UCLA’s Hill and Chris Smith (out for the year with a knee injury) combined for 22 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
Of course, it’s not as simple as doing that math and suggesting that Utah will now be able to overcome the difference in the rematch. The Bruins are a much hotter team right now, and with a valuable money line situation at play, they are the team to roll with.
Pick: UCLA (-104)