Arizona vs. USC: Surging Trojans Our NCAA Basketball Pick Tonight

Charles Stark

Saturday, January 9, 2016 3:13 PM GMT

After an almost amazing comeback Arizona heads across town to take on USC today in Los Angeles. NCAA basketball odds have come out making the ranked Wildcats a small favorite over USC.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: USC +2.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

NCAA basketball odds have come out making Arizona a -2.5 favorite and the total around 155. There is a reason why this line is so low with the number seven team in the country facing the non-ranked Trojans. It is a simple reason in that USC is really good this season, and I expect for them to give Arizona all they want. For my selection today I will back USC plus the points to take this game to the wire or pull off the upset.

 

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona is averaging 80.3 points per game while shooting 48.2% from the field, and allowing 64.9 points per game on 41.5% shooting from the field. Sean Miller has a really talented team but they are bit young this season and have struggled a bit on the road, especially in Southern California where they lost earlier to Providence in Fullerton then just the other day at UCLA. That might be the main issue to fade them today is simply the fact they have not had too many true road contests, and it is starting to look like their win at Gonzaga was not as big of a deal as we thought because the Bulldogs are looking a bit overrated. Offensively Arizona has been fine rankings 37th in the country in scoring and 28th in shooting percentage. They definitely have some talent although they don't shoot the three particularly well at just 34% per game, albeit they don't shoot that many, they do however hit the glass hard averaging 41 rebounds per game which ranks 28th in the country. Defensively you know what you're going to get with Arizona, a very tough sagging man-to-man defense that can be really tough to score against. They rank in the better part of the country in most defensive statistics especially defending from beyond the arc where they allow just 30.8% per game. This will be one of the main points of contention as USC is a very good three point shooting team.

 

USC Trojans
USC is averaging 83.1 points per game on 47% shooting from the field, and allowing 69.8 points per game on 38% shooting from the field. This the best team that USC has had in years and Andy Enfield is a really good college basketball coach. They are 10-0 at home and have five guys averaging double figures, the amazing thing about that fact is all five of them are averaging just around 12 points per game showing how unselfish they are and how well they share the ball. Probably the only thing that makes me wary of backing the Trojans in this spot is how good they have been against the spread at home going 8-1, and as handicappers know usually teams tend to regress to the mean. Still, with that aside, the value here is on USC who matches up very well with Arizona so forget about their current trend. Offensively they are excellent from beyond the arc averaging 41.1% from distance ranking 12th in the country, and what might be even tougher on Arizona is that they're better at home shooting 42.7% on the season from that range. As well, they have solid offensive statistics all around and should battle Arizona hard on the boards as USC averages 42.9 rebounds per game which ranks 10th in the country. Defensively USC has also been playing very well on this end of the floor ranking 13th in opponent shooting percentage from the field. They do however like to allow teams to get up and down with them as they rank as one of the lowest teams in college basketball in field goals allowed per game, but percentagewise they defend well from the inside out.

It is understandable for people to want to back the more popular basketball program and a team that's ranked in the top 10 laying less than three points, even on the road. Nevertheless, for one of your NCAA basketball picks I recommend backing USC plus the points as this is simply a very different team than they have had in the past. Don't be surprised if the Trojans hand the Wildcats another Southern California loss.