USC at Arizona Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

USC at Arizona Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

Written by on February 22, 2017

No. 4 Arizona is clearly a better team than visiting USC on Thursday in Pac-12 action, but the Wildcats could be on trap game alert because they have a huge one vs. No. 5 UCLA on Saturday that could determine the Pac-12 regular-season champion. Arizona will be solidly favored over USC in online NCAAB lines.

USC at Arizona Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 10 PM ET Where: McKale Center, Tucson TV: Pac-12 Network Stream: Pac-12 Live RadioUSC / Arizona Opening NCAAB Lines: Arizona favored by TBA

Why Bet On USC?

Southern Cal (21-6) is safely in the NCAA Tournament field but comes off a 102-70 blowout loss to UCLA. The Trojans had won four straight over their crosstown rivals. USC forward Bennie Boatwright, who missed the first meeting this season while recovering from a knee injury, had 20 points and 10 rebounds, but his teammates weren’t nearly as crisp as they had been against the Bruins last month. The Trojans shot 34% from the field Saturday and were outrebounded 50-33. “It felt like we still had a chance midway through the second half but then we couldn’t get any stops,” USC guard Jordan McLaughlin said. “Once they started making shots they’re a tough team to stop.” The Pac-12 has some of the top freshmen in the country this season and De’Anthony Melton is one of the best in the conference. He is one of two freshmen (Markelle Fultz of Washington) to rank among the top five Pac-12 freshmen this season in rebounding (5th), steals (1st), blocks (3rd) and assists (5th). Only Melton and Devon Daniels of Utah rank among the Pac-12 freshmen top 12 in scoring and top 10 in rebounding, field goal percentage (min. 50 attempts), free throw percentage (min. 40 attempts), steals, blocks and assists. Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and seven are averaging at least 7.5 points per game. USC has six games of 10 or more steals this season and it leads the conference in that category. Melton’s 49 steals are the second-most in the conference and seventh nationally among all freshmen.

Why Bet On Arizona?

The Wildcats (25-3, 14-1) have a one-game lead over Oregon atop the Pac-12. They come off a 76-68 win at Washington on Saturday. Lauri Markkanen had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and Allonzo Trier scored a season-high 21 points. The Wildcats did it short-handed, with starters Dusan Ristic and Kadeem Allen out because of injuries. Chance Comanche finished with 12 points filling in for Ristic. Ristic was out after spraining his left ankle in Thursday’s win over Washington State. Allen was considered a game-time decision after dislocating a finger on his shooting hand, but never left the Wildcats’ bench. Both Ristic and Allen are expected to play here. For the second time in his freshman season, Markkanen has been named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week. The most recent accolade came after the Wildcats’ road sweep of the Washington schools in which Markkanen averaged 22.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 92.3 percent at the free throw line. Markkanen is one of only two freshmen in the nation to lead a team in points per game, rebounds per game and three-point field goal percentage. The forward is approaching the top ten in freshmen scoring in program history with three regular season games remaining. Markkanen is already in the top five in UA freshmen history in three-point field goal percentage and made three-point field goals in a season. Arizona defeated USC 73-66 at the Galen Center on Jan. 19 and leads the all-time series 64-41, which reflects one win by both teams vacated due to NCAA penalty.

USC at Arizona Expert Pick: USC Trojans

Take the Trojans only if the spread is in double digits.