Stanford Cardinal vs. Utah Utes Pick & Prediction JANUARY 14th 2024

How will Utah follow up a historic 90-44 rout of UCLA?

By getting back to the basics for Sunday’s Pac-12 Conference trip to Stanford, according to guard Deivon Smith.

“Doing things that we’re capable of,” he said. “Talking, just being there to help, having your brother’s back.”

Doing those things on the defensive end enabled the Utes (12-4, 3-2 Pac-12) to enjoy their largest margin of victory in a Pac-12 game and hand the Bruins their second-worst loss ever. Now it’s just a matter of continuing to be more consistent against conference foes so the Utes can put together a good enough resume to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Branden Carlson has been the ringleader this season, leading Utah in scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.9). Gabe Madsen is the team’s other double-figure scorer at 13.7, while Rollie Worster is stuffing the stat sheet with 9.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

Per metrics, Utah boasts the 21st most efficient offense with 116.8 points per 100 possessions and the 47th most efficient defense at 97.8. The Utes also own the 32nd-best effective field goal percentage in Division I — combining both 2- and 3-pointers — at 54.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Stanford’s up-and-down season narrowly avoided one of its lowest lows Thursday night at Oregon State as it needed overtime to edge the Beavers 88-84, getting 22 points from Kanaan Carlyle.

But the Cardinal (8-7, 3-2) are capable of more than their record suggests. They ended the 2023 portion of the schedule by thumping then-No. 4 Arizona 100-82. And if they can win this one, the Cardinals could get on a nice roll as they host the Washington schools next week, followed by a trip to arch-rival Cal.

“The people in the locker room all believe what we can do,” said freshman guard Andrej Stojakovic.

Carlyle’s 14 points per game lead five players in double figures for Stanford, which has the 72nd-most efficient offense by kenpom’s metrics but isn’t quite as good on the defensive end, ranking 111th in efficiency.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping