Will Arizona Get Caught Looking Past USC?

Arizona Wildcats player

Willie Bee

Thursday, February 23, 2017 1:41 PM GMT

Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats begin a crucial weekend as favorites on the NCAA basketball odds tonight vs. USC before hosting UCLA on Saturday. However, they shouldn't look past the Trojans just yet.

Season: 37-35-3 (-1.50)

Talk about tough look-ahead spots coaches can find their teams in. Closing in on a Pac-12 title and potential No. 1 seed at the NCAA Men's tournament, Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats are in such a position tonight. The good news is they are at home and shouldn't be brushing the USC Trojans off as easy pickins. Still, it will be impossible for the Wildcats not to at least peak ahead to Saturday battle vs. UCLA, that huge clash on our free college basketball picks schedule.

McHale Center in Tucson is the site for this one, the Pac-12 Network carrying the tip a little past 10 PM (ET). We saw this one go out in the 9-9½ range favoring Arizona, and it's now -8 at BetOnline with 143½ for the total.

 

Last 2 Saturdays Unkind To Trojans

Southern Cal (21-6 straight up, 13-13 against the spread) got our attention early this season jumping out of the gate covering seven of its first eight lined affairs, and winning the conference opener on the road to reach 14-0. It crashed down on Andy Enfield and the Trojans then, four losses over the next six games putting them into a conference hole.

They did dig out with five consecutive wins after that, including a well-played upset of rival UCLA in front of the home fans as 7 point underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds to close out January. All that momentum disappeared the last two Saturdays, however, in losses both on the floor and at the window to Oregon and at UCLA, each of those contests a rematch like this one. Both their offense and defense disappeared in the setbacks, which was good news for 'over' bettors currently on a 4-game run of winning wagers.

 

Wildcats Banged Up As Season Winds Down

As much as he'd like to see Arizona (25-3 SU, 15-13 ATS) seeded first in the conference tourney in Las Vegas a couple of weeks from now, Miller would probably trade a loss to ensure his side was healthy for the postseason. The Wildcats have dealt with a couple of key injuries the last week or so, and it's left them extremely thin with only six players accounting for nearly 96% of the floor time in last Saturday's win at Washington.

Listed as questionable for tonight's encounter are Dusan Ristic, who rolled an ankle in last week's win at Washington State, and Kadeem Allen, who has missed the last two games with a finger injury. Ristic is fourth on the team averaging 11.2 PPG and second in rebounding (5.9) while Allen leads Arizona averaging 3.2 assists a contest.

Arizona won the initial matchup in Los Angeles on January 19, covering a -4 spread with a 73-66 decision that was also two days before meeting UCLA. It was the fourth win in the last five meetings for the Wildcats who own a 65-42 series advantage. This year's tilt in LA stayed 'under' a 143 point total, stopping a run of three 'over' winners. I'm expecting the same outcome again with a play on the low side of the scoreboard tally.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 143½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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