Utah Utes vs. UC Riverside Highlanders - 11/21/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
UC Riverside Highlanders (1-1) at Utah Utes (1-1)
College Basketball: Friday, November 21, 2014 at 9:00 pm (Jon M. Huntsman Center)
The Line: Utah Utes -23 -- Over/Under: 132.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: Pac 12 Network
The UC Riverside Highlanders will travel to the Jon M. Huntsman Center to face the Utah Utes this Friday night.
The UC Riverside Highlanders have started off the season 1-1 as they dropped a close battle against the Sacramento State Hornets 70-69 this past Monday night. Leading the way for the Highlanders were Taylor Johns who had 19 points (8-13 FG), 11 reb, and 3 blk and Jaylen Bland who also chipped in with 17 points. UC Riverside has struggled in recent years and its looks as if second-year Head Coach Dennis Cutts could be in for another long season as the Highlands are projected once again to be one of the weaker teams in the Big West Conference. The Highlands lost their two top scorers from last year’s squad in Chris Patton and Sam Finey and although it’s early in the season, it seems that Coach Cutts will have limited depth on his bench as in their recent game the starting five played 81.2% of the game.
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The Utah Utes comes into this match-up 1-1 off a tough 53-49 loss against the San Diego State Aztecs in what was a major defensive battle this past Tuesday Night. The Utes were only able to score 18 points in the first half, and finished shooting only 32.0% from the field while just going 6-25 from three-point range. The Utes couldn’t find anyone that could get by the Aztecs defensive as not a single Utah player was able to reach double digits. Leading the way for the Utes was star guard, Delon Wright who although only scored 7 points on 2-13 shooting, still ended up with a solid all-around game as he had 8 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, and 2 blk. Big-man Jakob Poeltl also had a nice game, as although he is a bit limited on the offense end (4 pts, 1-3 shooting) he was able to pull down 12 reb and block 7 shots. Utah is still projected to be a major player in the Pac-12 this year as Wright is arguably one of the best guards in the country. If Utah and Coach Larry Ktrystkowiak can get contributions by the supporting cast of Justin Loveridge (11.5 ppg, 2 apg) and Brendon Taylor (14.0 ppg, 3 rpg), they’ll end up as one of the better teams in the Pac-12 and a likely team that will be playing in the NCAA tournament come March.
The Highlanders are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 road games, however, just 10-21-3 ATS in their last 34 non-conference games. The Utes are 13-4-2 ATS in their last 19 non-conference games while also, 27-9-1 ATS in their last 37 home games.
Utah has to be disappointed that they weren’t able to make a major statement with a win against San Diego State and will be thrilled to find their offensive rhythm once again against UC Riverside. Although this line is quite high, and I never feel that Utah covers big lines, I just can’t find anything with the Highlands that makes me feel confident in the backing them. I’ll probably stay away from this game, however, if I was going to go with a team I would pick Utah at home to cover this large spread.