Stanford Cardinal at (11) Utah Utes (-10, 134.5 o/u)
The Stanford Cardinal (16-7, 7-4 Pac-12) are nipping at the heels of the top teams in the Pac 12, sitting just a game and a half back of first place in the conference. Tonight, the Cardinal will have a chance to narrow that gap even further as they face the No. 11 Utah Utes (18-4, 8-2 Pac 12) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City (9:00 p.m. Eastern).
The Utes are tied for the Pac-12 lead with No. 7 Arizona and went 2-1 on their recent three-game road trip (dropping the first game to UCLA, but rebounding with wins over USC and Colorado).
Stanford, meanwhile, got off to a quick 4-1 start in conference play, but have gone just 3-3 since then, losing to Arizona, Washington State, and UCLA, and beating Arizona State, Washington, and USC.
Their last outing was a 70-62 win over the Trojans which the team rally from a six-point deficit at the half. Every Stanford starter scored in double-figures, and guard Marcus Allen hauled in 11 rebounds.
“Marcus does one thing one night and something different the next night,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “If he can put it all together he’s capable of having a great career here.”
The Cardinal average 74.9 points per game and enters this game with a 16-7 record and 7-4 inside the Pac-12.
Utah has won four of the last five games and averages 74.2 points per game. The Utes are 18-4 this season and 8-2 in the Pac-12 Conference.
“Stanford competes and plays really well on the road,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “I’d be lying if I said I’m not glad to be home, but we have to overcome the challenge and get ready for a strong Stanford team.”
Krystkowiak is right about Stanford being a tough out on the road. Though the team is just 4-4 in true road games, they downed then-No. 9 Texas in Austin (74-71 OT) and three of their four losses have been by seven points or fewer.
Utah is a ten-point favorite and the over/under is at 134.5. Given Stanford’s penchant for playing solid road ball, the Cardinal and the points (+10) looks like the play.
(Photo credit: J R (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)