NCAA Basketball Picks: USC vs. UCLA Pac-12 Tournament Battle

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:41 AM GMT

Our college basketball betting consultant examines the PAC-12 Tournament contest today between USC and UCLA. Join us in reading his insightful betting preview article on this game and it culminates with an ATS point-spread selection.

Epic Rivalry in the Second Round of PAC-12 Tourney
The second round of the PAC-12 Tournament takes place today at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. My focus in this article will be the matchup between #12 seed USC (13-19) and #4 UCLA (19-12) that’s scheduled to tip at 5:30 PM ET. According to the college basketball betting odds at Bookmaker, UCLA is currently installed as a 9.0 point favorite on the NCAA Basketball odds. These two fierce long time rivals played twice already this season, and UCLA came away with a double-digit win on each occasion. Both of those games went over the total with an average of 154.0 combined points scored per contest.

 

Momentum from a Scintillating USC Comeback
The USC Trojans season looked like it was coming to a merciful end last night in the first round of the PAC-12 Tournament. The Trojans trailed 58-43 with 9:45 to go in the game following a three pointer from Bo Barnes of Arizona State. However, USC finished the game on an improbable 21-4 run to complete a frantic comeback which resulted in a 67-64 win. The questions now become, does USC carry the momentum of that come from behind win into today, or will they be physically and emotionally drained due to expending so much energy just 24-hours earlier? My educated guess, they’ll carry the momentum over during the first half of today’s game, and then eventually wear down in the second half.

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Bruins on “The Bubble”
The UCLA Bruins are in contention for a NCAA Tournament at-large bid. The general consensus is that the Bruins need to advance to the PAC-12 Tournament Finals in order for them to go dancing. That would require a win today over their cross town rival, and then pulling off an upset over Arizona (28-3) who’s currently ranked #5 in the country. In any event, I feel pretty confident that UCLA will display a high degree of urgency in today’s game, especially considering their intense rivalry versus USC. The Bruins will avoid at all costs being eliminated from the conference tournament, and have their “Big Dance” hopes dashed by USC of all teams.

 

Final Analysis
Prior to their win in the first round of the conference tournament on Wednesday, USC had gone a miserable 2-12 in their previous fourteen games, and finished last during the PAC-12 regular season slate with a dismal 3-15 record. UCLA is rested, focused, and is clearly the better team in this matchup. This game will be competitive for a half, and then look for UCLA to dominate the second stanza which will result in a decisive Bruins win. Lay the points with UCLA for one of your college basketball picks on Thursday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: UCLA -10.0 over USC at Bookmaker