USC at Utah Lines, Expert Pick, TV Info
No. 25 USC is likely to fall out of the rankings if the Trojans lose their second straight game on Thursday night when they visit a Utah team that could get into the rankings with a good weekend. The Pac-12 matchup is on the Pac-12 Network and the Utes will be slight NCAA basketball betting favorites.
USC at Utah Lines, Expert Pick, TV Info
Why Bet On USC?
Southern Cal lost to Cal 74-73 on Sunday. Down 72-71, Jordan McLaughlin scored to give the Trojans a 73-72 lead with 17 seconds left. Ivan Rabb scored 17 points, including the go-ahead free throws with five seconds left, and had a key block at the buzzer to lift California. With his team up one, Rabb blocked McLaughlin’s driving layup at the buzzer to lift the Bears to their first road victory over a ranked opponent in three years.
McLaughlin and Chimezi Metu each scored 20 points to lead Southern California (15-2, 2-2), which lost at home for the first time this season. While Cal’s Jabari Bird’s jump made contact in front of McLaughlin, the referees deemed that he jumped straight up and didn’t blow the whistle.
“The last play, there was a lot of contact at the rim. You can’t ask for more, Jordan could’ve easily scored or gone to the foul line, but he didn’t,” USC coach Andy Enfield said.
Final play aside, the Trojans lost Sunday’s game at the free-throw line, where they went a measly 10-of-21. McLaughlin, a 89 percent shooter at the stripe this season, sank 3 of 8 — including two misses with 45.3 seconds to play and the Trojans down by one. USC entered the game shooting 74.5 percent from the charity stripe and had made 124 of its last 155 shots (80.0 percent).
The score was tied 36-all at halftime. It was the first USC game this season that was tied at the break. USC shot 55.6 percent from the floor, while California shot 42.1 percent. California outrebounded USC 23-15 in the first half and outscored the Trojans 12-0 on second-chance points.
USC fell to 9-1 at the Galen Center this season. The Trojans’ last home loss was to then-No. 9 Oregon on March 5, 2016 (76-66). USC has won 26 of its last 29 games at home dating back to the last home game of the 2014-15 season.
California shot an opponent season high of 47.5 percent. The previous high for an opponent’s shooting percentage this season was 46.4 by Oregon on Dec. 30. USC was outrebounded 35-28 and outscored 36- 24 on points in the paint. California also had an 18-6 advantage on second-chance points.
Why Bet On Utah?
The Utes (11-4, 2-1) won at Arizona 88-82 over the weekend. Kyle Kuzma scored 19 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and grabbed 12 rebounds. Utah struggled to get shots to fall early but Kuzma keyed an early second-half run that helped the Utes build a 10-point lead. The junior forward made 11 of 17 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Utah shot 55 percent and made 8 of 16 from 3-point range.
Junior David Collette matched a season-high with 18 points and had a team-high two blocked shots. The Utes had four players score in double-figures for the 11th time this season. Utah is 9-2 overall in games where at least four players score 10+ points.
The Utes are off to its second-best start in Pac-12 play since joining the conference in 2011. Utah opened conference play at 4-0 back in 2014-15. Utah, 1-0 in conference play this season at home, is riding a nine-game home winning streak over Pac-12 teams which dates back to last season. Utah’s last loss to a Pac-12 foe at the Huntsman Center was a 77-59 defeat to Oregon back on Jan. 14, 2016.
In addition to its current nine-game winning streak, Utah has won 24 of its past 28 conference games at home dating back to the 2013-14 season.
Utah has a 21-17 advantage in the all-time series vs. USC and has won seven consecutive games against USC dating back to the 2012-13 season. The Utes won the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season last year (80-69) and later defeated the Trojans, 80-72, in the first round of the Pac-12 Championship Tournament in Las Vegas.
USC at Utah Expert Pick: Utah Utes
Utah is tough at home so it’s the betting choice.