Pac-12 Conference Matchup NCAA Basketball Pick: Play Utah vs. USC Low Side of The Total

Willie Bee

Sunday, February 1, 2015 2:20 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015 2:20 PM GMT

While the masses spend the day with nothing but the Super Bowl on their minds, Utah and Southern Cal will be engaged in a Pac-12 conference NCAA basketball odds matchup.

So far, the Pac-12 is playing out pretty much as expected. Arizona -- ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls and No. 6 currently -- was picked to be the cream of the crop before the season began, and the Wildcats are so far following the script at the top of the conference standings.

Those same college basketball futures that listed Arizona at -250 to win the league had the Utah Utes third on the list at 3/1. Larry Krystkowiak's crew hung right with the Wildcats for a while before a poor close to January dropped them back, and the Utes would love to start the month of February off on the right foot Sunday when they visit the USC Trojans in a 2:30 PM (ET) clash that can be seen on ESPNU.

Utah opened as a 12 point favorite, briefly dropped to -11½ overnight but are back up to an even dozen now. SBR's live college basketball odds caught the first total to come out at 131½.

 

Utes Go For Season Sweep Of Trojans
Utah and USC started January and their conference schedules against each other, and now they'll collide to begin February and finish off their regular season series. The Trojans visited Salt Lake City on January 2, and the Utes promptly blew them out of Huntsman Center with a 79-55 rout.

Favored by 16½, Utah gave its backers some extra breathing room with the 24 point triumph and shined in just about every phase of the game but free-throw shooting. Four Utes scored in double figures as Krystkowiak emptied his bench in the contest, Jordan Loveridge's 14 leading the way. Delon Wright recorded a double-double in the contest -- 11 points, 10 assists -- as the Utes sank nearly 57% from the field and connected on 11-of-19 attempts from 3-point land.

The victory gave Utah a slight 18-17 lead in the series with Southern Cal, the Utes winning and covering the last five matchups in the rivalry. The final also had just enough to slip past the total, marking the sixth consecutive 'over' between the clubs.

 

Off Loss To Bruins, Utes Need Rebound Win
Sunday's tussle is the middle of a 3-game road trip for Utah (16-4 straight up, 14-5 against the spread), and the first stop on the leg didn't go well for the Utes. NCAA basketball betting odds had them at -5½ for Thursday's tilt at UCLA, but the Bruins pulled off a 10-point upset win instead.

Utah committed 14 turnovers in the loss while UCLA gave it away only six times, and the Utes were outscored 18-6 at the charity stripe with some early fouls contributing to their second loss in four games. All four defeats on the season have come away from home.

 

5-Game Skid Has Trojans Bringing Up Rear Of Pac-12
As bad as January closed for the Utes, the entire month was even worse for Southern California (9-11 SU, 11-9 ATS). The Trojans dropped seven of eight, losing the last five as they take to their home floor on Sunday, and defense has been an issue for Andy Enfield's troops.

Enfield suggested it was youth and inexperience that led to the first loss to Utah, but it doesn't appear the Trojans have matured much in the seven games since, especially on the defensive end. Southern Cal is allowing nearly 77 points per Pac-12 game, 11th on the 12-team list, and league opponents are shooting close to 48% from the field.

The matchup is a clash of styles with USC preferring a more up-tempo game and Utah liking a slower pace. I'm going to buck the trend of 'overs' in the series with a free NCAA basketball pick on the low side of the total.

My Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah-USC Under 131.5
Season: 38-33 (+1.7)

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