UCLA's Kyle Anderson and Utah's Delon Wright are clearly two of the Pac-12's best all-around players, and these point guards will be the featured matchup Saturday when the No. 25 Bruins visit the Utes.
The 6-foot-9 Anderson leads the Pac-12 with 6.5 assists per game. He's fourth in rebounds per game (9.1), fourth in steals per game (1.9), fifth in field goal percentage (51.2) and averages 14.8 points.The 6-5 Wright also possesses multi-dimensional skills. He leads the conference in field goal percentage (64.3), is 10th in scoring average (15.9), fifth in assists (5.2 per game) and second in steals (2.7).Wright put those talents on display Thursday as he finished with 22 points, six rebounds, six steals and five assists in an 84-66 rout of USC.He is one of three Los Angeles natives who start for Utah (13-4, 2-3) along with sophomores Brandon Taylor and Dakarai Tucker. Neither Taylor nor Tucker saw action in a 57-53 home defeat Jan. 10, 2012, that marked the Bruins' first visit to face Utah.Tucker made 6 of 14 shots for a career-high 18 points Thursday. He averaged 6.3 points on 38.5 percent shooting over his first four Pac-12 games."I was just shooting with confidence," Tucker told the Utes' official website. "That was one of my goals for this game was to shoot with confidence. After the past couple of games I have just been working on coming into the gym and getting shots up."Anderson had 11 points and eight rebounds with one assist in last season's meeting when he wasn't the primary ballhandler for the Bruins (14-3, 3-1).Norman Powell was a reserve who missed all four shots in that contest, but he is now a starter who scored 19 points in Thursday's 69-56 victory at No. 21 Colorado. He is shooting 56.6 percent but hasn't made enough shots to qualify to rank among the conference leaders.Part of his hesitancy to shoot may be his 20.7 percent mark on 3-pointers, although he made 2 of 5 against the Buffaloes."I've really been working on my shot," Powell said. "I haven't been shooting the 3-ball the way I wanted to. I've been getting up extra shots at practice and on my own. I feel like it's really paying off. I'm really confident in my shot and it's going in."Utah leads the Pac-12 at 51.2 percent from the field with UCLA second at 50.6. The Utes are limiting foes to 39.1 percent while opponents are shooting 41.7 percent against the Bruins.UCLA is second in the nation in steals with 10.7 per game, with three of the seven best players in the conference in that category. Guard Jordan Adams ranks third nationally with 3.4 per game.Adams had 14 points and 13 boards Thursday for his second double-double in his last three games. He and Travis Wear tied for the team lead in last season's meeting with 12 points.Bruins coach Steve Alford returns to Salt Lake City for the first time since his New Mexico team was upset by Harvard in the NCAA tournament on March 21. He bolted for UCLA nine days later after signing a 10-year deal with the Lobos.