Even though Utah basketball has shown some improvement over the last month, they're still winless on the road. They hope that changes with a swing through Southern California this week with two games against surprisingly struggling programs.
The first is tonight against UCLA and marks the first time these two teams have met since the Utes' shocking upset of the Bruins in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Utah was a 10 seed that year and UCLA was one of the tournament favorites, entering the game as a two-seed. They were coached by Larry Farmer, who had a stint as Weber State's head coach back in the 1980s, where the game actually took place.
Tonight, the Utes hope for some similar magic.
The Bruins, however, are struggling and may be one of the most disappointing teams in the nation. It wasn't that long ago, in fact, they were playing in consecutive Final Fours. Since that '08 season, though, they've struggled recapturing past glory.
They enter tonight's game with only a 10-9 record and an un-UCLA like 3-4 record in conference play. As of now, the Bruins are officially only one game better than the Utes in the Pac-12.
Of course, at least on paper, they seem like the superior team and it might not even be close. It doesn't help that Utah is 0-6 on the road and UCLA is 8-3 at home.
But this game is probably a bit more winnable than many thought at the start of the season and that shows improvement.
Hopefully that improvement continues tonight.