The Arizona Wildcats welcome the USC Trojans to the desert for a Thursday night showdown at the McKale Center. USC is looking for their seventh win of the season to advance to 7-2 in the 2020-21 campaign. It’s been a respectable start for the Trojans so far, and put themselves in contention in a competitive Pac-12. There isn’t a national contender to be found in the conference, but it’s going to be an exciting race to win the Pac-12 at least.
There are seven teams in the conference that have a legitimate chance of winning. Things are wide open and parity reins in the Pac-12. They are just fortunate that the Gonzaga Bulldogs don’t play in the conference. Gonzaga would likely run away from the field. It isn’t time to insert Gonzaga as the national champs yet, but it’s safe to say they’re winning the West Coast Conference. There isn’t much competition to be had in the West Coast. Meanwhile in the Pac-12, perhaps the biggest surprise has been Arizona.
Not because Arizona is playing solid basketball, but because of how solid it’s been for them. Arizona is off to a 9-1 start and playing some quality ball in the desert. Their only loss of the season came on December 19 against Stanford. That was a close one, too, with the Cardinal winning a close one at home, 78-75. Good on for Arizona playing a competitive game on the road versus a good Cardinal team. It’s never easy to go on the road in college basketball and hang tough against decent squads.
Arizona is coming off an 86-82 win over Washington State on the road. That was even more impressive by the Wildcats. Washington State was 8-0 going into that matchup and handed the first loss of their season versus the Wildcats. They easily made it past the lifeless Washington Huskies prior to that outing for a 80-53 win. Conversely, USC is fresh off a 64-46 win over Utah on Saturday. It was a nice response for the Trojans following a 72-62 loss against the Colorado Buffaloes. A tougher outing looms for them tonight, though. Head below for our free USC vs. Arizona pick on January 7, 2021.
USC Trojans vs. Arizona Wildcats NCAA Betting Odds:
USC vs. Arizona Prediction:
USC has failed to beat a ranked team this season. That’s not at any fault of their own, because they haven’t been scheduled to play a ranked team. In any case, their record of 6-2 might be a bit misleading. Against the two best teams they’ve played, Colorado and UConn, the Trojans came up short. In the first of those two outings, USC was downed by a score of 61-58 on December 3. UConn is good, but I wouldn’t say they’re great or anything.
Following that win, the Trojans beat up on UC Irvine, 91-56, Santa Clara, 86-63, and then ran into trouble against a good Colorado team. USC were cut down in that game by a score of 72-62 at home in their first real test since the loss over UConn. The Trojans have netted an average of 76.4 points per game, while conceded 62.5 points a game. Their defense has been more impressive, with USC sitting in 35th in the NCAA.
Note that this is the first true road game for USC. They’ve played seven games on the road and BYU at a neutral site. In USC’s most recent trip to the desert to play the Wildcats, they were losers by a score of 85-80 on February 6. In fact, going back to 2016, USC has struggled plenty against the Wildcats at the McKale Center in their last five meetings.
Arizona is 5-0 over USC, all of which were convincing wins besides the five-point win noted above. The Wildcats have been solid on both sides of the ball, with 79.3 points a game for 72nd, and a top-100 defense as well, with 64.7 points allowed a game. Arizona should be able to cover a three-point spread over the visiting Trojans on Thursday.