UCLA Bruins at USC Trojans – NCAAM February 6

No. 21 UCLA (13-3, 9-1) at USC (14-3, 8-2)

Time: 7 PST – 9 CST – 10 EST
Place: Galen Center, Los Angeles, Ca.
TV: ESPN
Opening Tip:

This was once the top rivalry on the west coast and UCLA coach Mick Cronin and USC boss Andy Enfield are intent on making that happen again. The Bruins have won eight out of their last nine while USC has won nine out of ten.

The Bruins lead this storied rivalry 143-111, but loss both games last season. The 54-52 buzzer-beater by the Trojans on the season’s last day knocked UCLA out of a share of the Pac-12 title.

UCLA’s Jaime Jacquez (34.6 mpg) and Tyger Campbell (33.8 mpg) are third and fifth in the Pac-12, respectively in minutes per game. USC freshman Evan Mobley (16.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg) is first in the league in rebounding and seventh in scoring.

Vs. The Spread

UCLA:

  • The Bruins are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of the Bruins’ last 7 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in the last five UCLA-USC contests in Galen Center

USC:

  • The OVER has been the play in 5 of the last 6 USC games
  • The UNDER has been the play in 4 of the last 5 between the Bruins and Trojans
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of the last 6 vs. Pac-12 competition

Last Time Out:

Cody Riley had 16 points and 10 rebounds as he logged his fourth double-double fo the season as UCLA eclipsed Oregon State, 57-52, in Corvallis. Riley had 10 of the 16 in the second half as UCLA broke open a tight game late.

The Trojans outscored Stanford 6-0 over the final 1:18 as USC took down the Cardinal, 72-66 in Maples Pavilion on Tuesday night. Freshman guard Tajh Eaddy scored four of those six points, including the go-ahead basket and the final jumper.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
UCLA +3½ (-110) +150 O 135 (-110)
USC -3½ (-110) -170 U 135 (-110)

Advantage, UCLA:

UCLA Bruins LogoThe Trojans don’t force but 12 turnovers per game, so UCLA’s Tyger Campbell and Johnny Juzang could find room to manipulate the perimeter where UCLA can find points as they shoot 40.6 percent from three. UCLA only turns the ball over 11.2 times per game as Jaime Jacquez (40.4% -3)  and Juzang (34.5% -3)  could control the game from the three-point line.

Key UCLA Stat:
UCLA is 9-0 this season when the Bruins hold their opponents to less than 70 points. This is where Mick Cronin has had an amazing buy-in on the defensive end of the floor where they allow 43.1 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from three.

X-Factor:

Jules Bernard (9.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is hopefully able to play  after struggling with an injured knee. He has struggled in his last two games where he only scored only two points and averaged only 13 minutes per game. In the two games before against Washington and Cal, he averaged 15.5 points and gave Cronin 31 minutes.

Advantage, USC:

USC Trojans LogoIf USC can pound the paint with Evan Mobley and Isaiah Mobley (9.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) as they are both excellent passers and find each other in a solid high-low game. Evan Mobley shoots 58 percent from the floor and is also the product of the passing skills of Tahj Eaddy (12.6 ppg, 45 assists) and Drew Peterson (10.2 ppg, 3.8 apg). The Trojans lead the Pac-12 in scoring at 76 points per game and field goal percentage (46.3%) and also outscoring opponents by a league-leading (+11.7) points per game.

Key USC Stat:
USC has held its opponents to 38.2 percent shooting this season, sixth-best in the country as they also outrebound their opponents by (+8.2) points per game. Stanford shot 51.9 percent from the floor this week and it was the first time an opponent had made over 50 percent of it’s shots against the Trojans this season. Evan Mobley also leads the Pac-12 in blocked shots with 49.

X-Factor:

Making free throws is a must for every team, but the Trojans have been to the line 399 times, but have made only 65.4 percent of their free throws which is 301st in the NCAA. Interestingly, Evan Mobley, Tahj Eaddy, and Drew Peterson are all well over 70 percent on the season.

Winner: USC (-3½) 72, UCLA 64
O/U: Take OVER 135

The Bets
USC -3½
-110
UNDER 135
-110
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.