NCAA Basketball Picks: USC vs. Arizona

Darin Zank

Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:10 PM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 12:10 PM GMT

Arizona is not only winning games, it's covering spreads, too, going 7-1 vs. the numbers its last eight times out. The Wildcats are favored by a big number for their home game tonight against a young USC team.

Trojans-Wildcats Betting Odds
Arizona opened on the NCAA basketball odds as a 23-point favorite over USC, and that number was holding steady in the early betting action.

 

Clash in Tuscon
Arizona got upset 11 days ago by Arizona State, but last week won at Washington 86-62, covering as an 11-point favorite, and at Washington State 86-59, covering at -15. The 'Cats shot 53 percent from the field against U-Dub, holding the Huskies to just 35 percent shooting, then shot 57 percent against Wazzu, holding the Cougars to 42 percent shooting.

At 22-3 SU, 10-2 in conference play Arizona is tied for the lead in the Pac-12 with Utah, and remains in the running for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament.

On the underdog side of this match-up USC began this season knowing it might struggle, as the rebuilding continues under second-season head coach Andy Enfield. And the Trojans have had their problems, no doubt, as they bring up the rear in the Pac-12 standings. But they just broke a long losing streak, and in going with a youth movement know that better times lay ahead.

USC just snapped a nine-game losing slide with a 68-55 victory over Oregon State last Saturday. The Trojans trailed that game by a bucket at the half, then used a 15-3 spurt out of the locker room to take over, picking up their first victory since beating Cal back on Jan. 7.

For the game USC shot 45 percent from the floor, and held the Beavers to just 33 percent shooting.

The Trojans had lost their three previous games, to Cal, Stanford and Oregon, by a total of 14 points. So USC is 3-1 ATS over its last four games.

At 10-15 overall, 2-11 in conference play USC is playing through a learning curve, now going with probably the youngest rotation in the league.

 

Recent History
This is the first meeting between these teams this season. Arizona has taken seven of the last nine meetings in this series SU, going 6-3 ATS in the process. Last season the 'Cats took the only meeting with the Trojans 73-53 in LA, covering as a 13-point favorite.

Share with fellow bettors your NCAA basketball picks for the day

By the Numbers
On the season USC is shooting just 42 percent from the floor, 31 percent from 3-point territory and just 64 percent from the FT line. The Trojans are also holding opponents to 42 percent FG shooting.

Arizona is shooting just under 50 percent from the field, which ranks seventh-best in the nation, 36 percent from 3-point range and 69 percent from the line, while holding foes to 40 percent FG shooting.

 

Trojans-Wildcats Betting Trends
USC is 13-9 on the totals this season, as Trojans games have averaged 137 points.

Arizona is 11-14 on the totals, as Wildcats games have averaged 135 points.

 

Injury Update
USC guard Jordan McLaughlin (12 points, five assists PG this season) missed the last game with a shoulder injury, and will probably miss this one, too.

 

Trojans-Wildcats Free Pick
Arizona has won 11 games this season by today's spread or more, but USC has only lost twice by 23 or more. The Wildcats, of course, are very likely to extend their home winning streak tonight to 35 games, but this spread is probably inflated by several points. And the Trojans have been playing some better ball as of late. If they can just withstand the Arizona runs, make a few shots and limit the turnovers, they could cover. We'll take the underdog for our college basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: USC +23 at Pinnacle

comment here