UCLA at USC Spread, Free Pick & TV Info
Obviously you can’t compare the basketball histories of UCLA, one of the true blue-blood programs of the sports, and crosstown Southern Cal. That said, the Trojans got the best of their “big brothers” three times last season and look for another upset on Wednesday as the No. 8 Bruins come to the Trojans’ gym as solid college basketball betting favorites.
UCLA at USC Spread, Free Pick & TV Info
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) January 23, 2017
Why Bet On UCLA?
The Bruins were No. 3 in last week’s poll but dropped to No. 8 following a thorough 96-85 home beating by Arizona on Saturday. Lonzo Ball scored a season-high 24 points, adding eight assists and six rebounds in the loss to the then-No. 14 Wildcats. The loss snapped UCLA’s 11-game home win streak and marked the team’s second loss in 21 games this season. The Bruins still operated their offense at an accelerated pace against the Wildcats, but during the balance of the contest, Arizona was able to at least deny UCLA’s first run toward the rim and/or close out on their first 3-point look.
The Bruins scored 1.16 points per trip against the Wildcats. With any normal offense, that would be a great game. For the Bruins, it was below their Pac-12 average. Arizona pulled down 34 percent of its misses against UCLA — not an eye-popping number but far better than what the Bruins managed on their offensive glass (25 percent). In Pac-12 play, coach Steve Alford’s team ranks No. 9 in a 12-team league in defensive rebound percentage.
UCLA had not opened any season with 19 wins in 20 games since beginning its 1991-92 campaign with a 21-2 overall record. Ball finished the week having registered 17.0 points, 10.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds in a pair of games against Arizona State (Jan. 19) and Arizona. Ball is currently averaging 8.2 assists per game, the highest single-season average in UCLA history. His 172 assists are the most in one season since Kyle Anderson had 233 in 2013-14 (sophomore). In addition, Ball’s 172 assists this season rank as the second-highest total ever by a UCLA freshman. Pooh Richardson dished a school-record 179 assists in 29 games as a freshman in 1985-86.
UCLA leads the nation in assists per game (22.3), total assists (468), field goal percentage (53.1), three-point field goal percentage (43.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.9). In addition, UCLA ranks second in scoring (93.0 ppg) and was fifth in scoring margin (16.4).
Why Bet On USC?
The Trojans (17-4) beat Arizona State 82-79 on Sunday. Elijah Stewart and Jonah Matthews each hit a pair of treys in an 18-5 run as USC stretched its lead to 81-67 at 3:13 then had to hold on. The Sun Devils staged a furious rally in the final three minutes, scoring 12 of the final 13 points and getting two chances for a game-tying trey in the final 13 seconds only to fall short.
ASU shot 50.9 percent and 45 percent from 3-point (9-of- 20) while leading 30-29 in rebounds, all statistics that would suggest a win. But 15 turnovers leading to 24 USC points hurt. And no one scored off the bench for the Sun Devils as the five starters played 35-40 minutes.
Stewart scored 29 points, making seven of USC’s 14 3-pointers. Jordan McLaughlin added 18 points for the Trojans (17-4, 4-4 Pac-12), who stopped a two-game skid at Galen Center in salvaging a weekend split after losing to No. 14 Arizona. Stewart’s points were one off his career high and he tied his career best for 3-pointers. The Trojans equaled their season-best from long-range.
USC’s 17-4 start is USC’s best since also going 17-4 to start the 1992 season. McLaughlin had 8 assists vs. ASU to give him 368 in his career. The 368 assists moves him into fifth place on USC’s all-time career assists list. He passed Gus Williams (362) and Daniel Hackett (363).
Freshman guard Jonah Mathews made his first career start and finished with 14 points. He became the third of USC’s four freshmen to start at least one game this season. Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton has made 10 starts and freshman forward Nick Rakocevic has made 8 starts.
USC has won 27 of its last 31 games at home dating back to the last home game of the 2014-15 season. The Bruins have won 10 of their last 14 meetings against USC, who swept all three games against the Bruins in 2015-16. UCLA has compiled a 7-3 record against the Trojans at the Galen Center since the Trojans’ home arena opened in October 2006.
UCLA at USC Free Pick: UCLA Bruins
UCLA will bounce back with a win and cover on NCAAB odds.