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Utes Hope To Get Back On Track At Home Against UCLA

Utah Utes Timmy Allen (1) goes up for a layup against UCLA Bruins Jalen Hill (24) during the game on February 02, 2020, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After losing their seventh straight road game, the Utah Utes basketball team is back home and looking to get back on track. They will host the UCLA Bruins on Thursday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Utah is currently 14-11 overall and 5-8 in Pac-12 play after losing their last two games against the Oregon schools. They are 10-1 at home with their only loss coming against the Oregon Ducks, who the Utes just lost to on the road on Sunday.

UCLA is 15-11 overall and 8-5 in conference play. In true road games, UCLA is 3-4 away from Pauley Pavilion. They have won their last three games and are tied with USC for fifth place and a half of a game behind both Arizona and Arizona State for third and fourth place in the conference standings.

The all-time series between Utah and UCLA is tied at 8 wins apiece. Since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011, they are 6-7 with a 4-2 record at the Huntsman Center.

These two teams met earlier this season in Los Angeles on February 2 with the Bruins picking up a 73-57 win.

Utes Need Win To Climb Standings

The Utes are sitting in 8th place in the Pac-12 standings, a half of a game behind Stanford for the seventh spot and three games behind UCLA for sixth place. In order to get a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, Utah will need to secure a top-four seed.

Arizona and Arizona State are in a tie for third place with the Wildcats holding the tiebreaker. Utah is three and a half games behind the Arizona schools in the Pac-12 standings.

Rylan Jones had a tremendous game against the Ducks, posting 18 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists on 4-8 shooting from beyond the arc.

Timmy Allen will look to get back on track offensively with two under average performances with 6 points against Oregon State and 10 against Oregon. He shot a combined 5-16 from the field.

The sophomore from Mesa, Arizona is averaging 15.2 points per road game and 19.4 points at home.

In Utah’s loss to UCLA this season, Riley Battin led the way with 14 points. Allen nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists.

UCLA On Winning Streak

The Bruins have won three straight and seven of their last nine games. They have defeated Arizona in Tuscon, along with a sweep of the Washington schools at home on their current win streak. Their other wins in the seven of their last nine were against Utah, Colorado, Oregon State and California. During that stretch, UCLA’s two losses were to Oregon and Arizona State.

In UCLA’s win over Utah earlier this season, Tyger Campbell scored 22 points, while Jaime Jaquez Jr. notched a career-high 18 points.

Chris Smith is the only Bruin to average double figures with 13.3 points per game.

As a team, UCLA is among the bottom in the Pac-12 in scoring, posting just 69.9 points per game. That ranks 10th in the conference.

NET Rankings

Part of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee process is the information compiled from five major metrics, the NET rankings, the three metrics from ESPN, including Strength of Record, BPI and RPI. The final two metrics that are used are the rankings from KenPom and Sagarin.

Utah is ranked No. 84 in the NET ranking after their loss to Oregon. UCLA is No. 101 in the NET rankings after their win over Washington. The Utes are the ninth highest ranked team in the Pac-12 according to the NET rankings, while UCLA is 10th.

Here is where the other metrics have the Utes this week:

  • RPI – 70
  • SOR – 71
  • BPI – 122
  • KenPom – 117
  • Sagarin – 96

For UCLA, here is where the other metrics have them ranked:

  • RPI – 74
  • SOR – 89
  • BPI – 114
  • KenPom – 99
  • Sagarin – 79

Also, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee uses the Quadrant system where they put the opponent in a quadrant depending on their five ratings in their major metrics. Entering the game against UCLA, Utah is 2-8 against Quadrant 1 opponents. Their eight losses came against San Diego State, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon (twice), USC, Arizona State and Oregon State, while their two wins were against BYU and Kentucky in Las Vegas.

The Utes are 5-1 against Quadrant 2 teams with wins over Nevada, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon State and Stanford, with their only loss against UCLA. In Quadrant 3, Utah is 3-2 with both losses coming against Tulane and Coastal Carolina in the Myrtle Beach Invitational and their three wins coming against Ohio, California and Washington State. The Utes are 4-0 in Quadrant 4 with wins over UC Davis, Weber State, Central Arkansas and Mississippi Valley State.

UCLA has a 4-5 record in Quadrant 1, beating Arizona, Colorado, Washington and Oregon State with their five losses against Michigan State, Oregon, BYU, Arizona State and Notre Dame. They are 1-4 in Quadrant 2, beating Washington while falling to Stanford, USC, North Carolina and Washington State. The Bruins have a 4-1 record in Quadrant 3 with victories over Utah, Washington State, UNLV and California with their lone loss to Hofstra. UCLA is 5-1 in Quadrant 4 with wins over UC Santa Barbara, Southern Utah, San Jose State, Long Beach State and Denver. Their only loss came against Cal State Fullerton.

The Utes and Bruins will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday with the game being televised on FS1.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.