Pac-12 NCAA Basketball Picks: Take 'Under' In USC & Arizona State

Willie Bee

Friday, February 12, 2016 11:56 AM GMT

For one fleeting Friday, we get Power 5 Conference action on the NCAA basketball odds board as the USC Trojans trek to the desert to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 157
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

What's this, teams from one of the Power 5 Conferences set to square off and do battle on a Friday night? That is indeed the case on this week's college hoops slate, and though it may be for one fleeting Friday during the conference season, at least we do get two crucial contests out in the Pac-12.

One of those matchups pits the USC Trojans, ranked No. 23 in both of the latest polls at the Arizona State Sun Devils, at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The game went out as a pick 'em before bettors moved USC to 1 point chalk at 5Dimes. Friday's total is 157.

Oregon's loss to Cal on Thursday tightened up the Pac-12, the Ducks' lead over the Trojans now just a game heading into Friday evening. Both USC and Arizona can inch a little closer to Oregon with victories tonight, the Wildcats hosting UCLA in advance of a showdown with the Trojans on Sunday in Tucson.

 

SoCal Seeking First Win In Tempe Since 2011
Tonight's tangle in the desert is the second meeting of the season between the two, USC grabbing a 75-65 win when the school met in Los Angeles on January 7. The Trojans raced to an early 10 point lead in the first half, and made that advantage stand up as 6 point favorites on the NCAA basketball odds.

Southern Cal mastered the boards in that contest and harassed Sun Devil shooters with nine blocks, four by Nikola Jovanovic. Julian Jacobs led the Trojans with 15 points and the team connected on 7-of-16 attempts from outside the arc.

The victory gave USC a 54-38 advantage in the rivalry, the series running pretty even lately thanks to both teams defending their home floors. It was the seventh win the last nine collisions in LA for the Trojans, and the Sun Devils have won seven of the last eight in Tempe, USC's last win on this court coming in 2011. Recently, it has also been a very low-scoring series, the 'under' cashing the last five meetings. The lone aberration to that trend came in 2013 at Arizona State where the Sun Devils posted a 98-93 triumph in overtime.

 

Shooting The Rock Has Been An Issue For ASU
A perfect 5-0 at home, the road has been a different story for Southern California (18-5 straight up, 15-8 against the spread) with three losses in five games away from LA. A trip through Oregon a couple of weekends ago ended in losses to both the Ducks and Beavers. Andy Enfield's side squandered a halftime lead in a 15-point defeat at OSU, hitting on just 7-of-24 field goal attempts in the second half, only two of those coming the final 11+ minutes.

The Trojans have since bounced back from that bad weekend with three consecutive victories, all at home and the latest eight days ago vs. UCLA to give them a season sweep of the Bruins. Scoring is spread around the floor for USC with six players averaging at least 11 PPG.

It hasn't been a very fun first run through the Pac-12 at Arizona State (13-11 SU, 11-11-1 ATS) for head coach Bobby Hurley. The non-conference portion of the Sun Devils schedule gave the appearance they could be a surprise in the conference with wins over NC State, Creighton and Texas A&M, but it has been a different story in conference play.

The team has run hot-&-cold on offense, as seen by a 42.7% team field goal mark which ranks in the bottom half of the country. Two of the three conference wins came against lowly Washington State.

My free NCAA basketball pick is going to rely on a tried-&-true recipe in this series, that being a low-scoring battle. Play the 'under.'