After a postponed game due to COVID-19, the Utes are back on the court on New Year’s Eve to take on UCLA on the road. The Utes were winless on the road in conference play a season ago, so it will be interesting to see if they can reverse that trend in 2021.
UCLA is one of the league favorites, so this will be a test for the Utes. In a game like this, and many conference games, the question will be can the Utes score enough points to keep up? Just by the way Utah plays, I don’t think the pace will be much of an issue, but they need to be able to put the ball in the basket. Conference play is where Rylan Jones needs to shine. His ability to setup his teammates, plus his shot making ability, will be massive. We also need to see more from Timmy Allen, with the outside punch from Alfonso Plummer. If the Utes can get good play from those big three, they’ll be in a good spot.
Check out the official scouting report from the press release from the Utah athletic department:
SCOUTING THE BRUINS
When the Utes and Bruins take the floor this Thursday it will be the just the 23rd meeting between the two programs with UCLA holding a slight 12-10 edge in the series. Mick Cronin has his team sitting at 5-2 on the year and 1-0 in Pac-12 play. The last time UCLA played was on Dec. 19 against #20 Ohio State (L, 77-70) while its last home game was back on Dec. 11 against Marquette (W, 69-60). Jaime Jaquez Jr. is leading the way for UCLA, averaging 13.7 points and 6.0 rebounds through seven games with a .523 shooting clip in addition to a team-high .462 (12-of-26) clip from downtown. Chris Smith is second on the squad averaging 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds while Tyger Campbell is averaging 11.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang rounds out the list of players averaging in double-figures for UCLA with 10.7 points per game after starting in 2-of-3 games he has played in. UCLA isn’t short of any firepower on the offensive end with three additional players averaging nine-plus points in Cody Riley (9.7 ppg), Jules Bernard (9.6 ppg) and Jalen Hill (9.0 ppg). Riley, Bernard and Hill combined with the four averaging in double-figures account for 87.1-percent of UCLA’s offense. A preseason favorite to win the league this season, the Bruins opened the year with a loss to San Diego State (73-58) on the road but was able to rally and reel off five-straight wins before falling to then-No. 20 Ohio State.