Utah Utes vs. Stanford Cardinal Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 29th 2024

Utah will try to regain some momentum heading into the final two weeks of the regular season when the Utes host Stanford in a Pac-12 game on Thursday night in Salt Lake City.

Utah (16-11, 7-9 Pac-12) is coming off an 89-65 blowout loss at Colorado on Saturday, blunting its one-point win at UCLA a week earlier.

The Utes have dropped four of their past five, leaving them alone in eighth place in the conference standings, one spot below where they were picked to finish in the preseason coaches’ poll.

“What’s disappointing, we have a lot of guys that are a veteran group,” Utah coach Craig Smith said. “We need more leadership.”

Colorado shot 54.2 percent from the floor against Utah, including 10-for-21 from 3-point distance. It was a much different defensive performance than against UCLA, which was held to 39.7 percent from the floor and 5-for-21 from behind the arc.

“We have to have a presence on the perimeter,” Smith said. “We’ve got to be able to guard the ball. I don’t know how many blow-bys there were (against Colorado), but there were a lot.”

Stanford (12-15, 7-10) beat Utah 79-73 when they met on Jan. 14 in Palo Alto, Calif., helping the Cardinal to a 4-2 start in conference play, but they’ve gone 3-8 since to fall into a tie for ninth with Washington.

Stanford, which was picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll, most recently lost to last-place Oregon State on Saturday, allowing the Beavers to shoot 52.7 percent from the floor and 8-for-20 from 3-point range in the 85-73 loss.

“We need to get back to the drawing board,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “Defensively, we need to continue to find ways to be more efficient.”

Jared Bynum, a highly regarded graduate transfer from Providence who was named the Big East Sixth Man of the Year in the 2021-22 season, started the first 14 games at point guard for Stanford, but was then injured and lost his starting role to freshman Kanaan Carlyle.

Bynum’s playing time began to dwindle to the point where he hasn’t played in the past five games. He announced on social media after the Oregon State game that he’s not injured.

–Field Level Media

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