NCAA Basketball Picks: Lock Arizona St. To Upset USC In PAC 12 Rivalry Game

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, January 7, 2016 6:15 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 6:15 PM UTC

The continuation of the PAC 12 rivalry happens tonight when Arizona St. travels to meet USC. Don't miss our top NCAA basketball picks for this game here.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Arizona St. +215
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


Arizona St. vs. USC (-6-) 10:30 ET PAC 12 NTWK
Arizona St. travels to USC for a continuation of their PAC 12 rivalry that saw the Sun Devils win (64-59) in the desert last year, before falling to USC (67-64) in last year’s conference tourney. That, however, was before 1st year HC Bobby Hurley took over as 1st year coach of the Sun Devils. His intense passionate style (which got him tossed after his 2nd technical in the Arizona game last Sunday) is totally dichotomous to the laid back style of 3rd year USC HC Enfield. You will, of course, remember Enfield from his glory days of “Dunk City” at FGCU, when he led that mid-major program to a trio of NCAA upsets 4 seasons ago. In the first meeting between these two, the diverse contrast of styles will be one of the more intriguing parts of this matchup. My opinion is that the matchup clearly favors Arizona St. Let’s take a look at the specifics of each team!


USC Trojans
It has taken Enfield 3 seasons to recruit his style of players and bring Dunk City to the Galen Center. In the first 2 years his Trojans recorded just 23 total wins and were just 15-16 SU on their home court. This year, it’s 94 feet of wall-to-wall ball with shades of Dunk City being resurrected. The Bruins are averaging 84/47/41 per game on offense and control the glass with a +4.8 rebound margin. Along the way have been 2 of their 3 losses to Xavier and Monmouth in a late November tournament. But, they have yet to record a quality win, as the victory vs. Wichita St. was when the Shockers were playing without VanVleet. Now, they face their first real challenge in the PAC 12. Their mettle will be tested, considering the recent time they took the court was an (87-85) loss at Washington (yes, I had them) when they blew all of a 21 point 2nd half lead due to their lax defensive intensity and ball handling. A performance like that would surely once again be their undoing against this Arizona St. team and send the Trojans to their first loss of the year at Galen.


Arizona State Sun Devils
For Arizona St. is truly being molded in the image of Bobby Hurley, whose intensity and passion over 20 years ago was a key to leading Duke to multiple NCAA runs and a pair of National Championships. Key defeats this season in their 10-4 SU log have been to Marquette and Kentucky. But, there have also been marquee wins away from the desert vs. NC State and UNLV. Their game Sunday, though resulting in a defeat, showed the vast improvement of this team from their mediocre campaigns of recent years. Arizona St. has bounced back from their previous 3 losses with victories the next time out. A quality defense allows 68/41/31 and they sport a +5.3 rebound margin. Those numbers hold them in good stead in this underdog role against a USC team, who may be shell-shocked and vulnerable after their meltdown vs. Washington on Sunday. See that as the far more likely outcome, rather than visiting Arizona St. “losing the Arizona game twice.”

I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me with my NCAA basketball pick on Arizona St.

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