Utah wins fifth in a row over UCLA, Pac-12 bubble intensifies

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The Utah Utes scored a massive bubble win on Thursday night, beating the UCLA Bruins 84-78 for their fifth-straight victory.

UCLA dropped to 19-9 overall and 10-6 in Pac-12 play with the loss, while Utah improved to 18-9 and 10-6 respectively — the two teams are now in a tie for third place in the conference.

Here’s a look at the game’s final stats from ESPN:

Observations

UCLA may be on the outside of the bubble looking in: ESPN’s Bracketology listed UCLA as among its First Four Out group along with Texas, Washington and Penn State. With the loss, UCLA is still in pursuit of its 20th win late in the year and may be relegated to the Next Four Out group before the weekend.

Bracket Matrix listed UCLA as a No. 11 seed just before tipoff.

Utah’s NCAA Tournament chances are skyrocketing: After a Feb. 2 loss to Colorado, Utah seemed dead in the water when it came to its chances to go dancing.

Well, Thursday night’s win was Utah’s fifth in a row — a steak that includes wins over Washington and Stanford as well as the Bruins.

ESPN listed Utah among its Next Four Out group while Bracket Matrix has the Utes receiving votes. With Utah hosting USC and Colorado to finish off the regular season, the Utes could vault themselves into a berth with a strong finish.

The Bruins’ defense continues to struggle: UCLA hasn’t held a team to under 40 percent shooting from the field since a Jan. 25 victory over Cal. That’s also the last time the Bruins held a team under 60 points.

Utah shot nearly 53 percent from the field despite hoisting up 29 3-pointers. While UCLA has the offensive firepower to hang with anybody, its defense has to shore up.

What players, coaches said:

Turning Point

What’s Next for UCLA, Utah Basketball

UCLA is at Colorado on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

As for Utah, it hosts USC on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PT and the game will be on the Pac-12 Network.

The post Utah wins fifth in a row over UCLA, Pac-12 bubble intensifies appeared first on Diehards.

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