UCLA Bruins vs. USC Trojans Preview
Where: Galen Center – Los Angeles, CA
When: Wednesday, January 25 – 11:00 PM ET
Line: UCLA Bruins vs USC Trojans – view all NCAAB lines
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Betting on the UCLA Bruins (19-2, 6-2 Pac-12)
The Bruins had their second loss of the season Saturday afternoon when they got blasted by the Arizona Wildcats, 96-85. They were simply outmatched with an aggressive play and were never able to fully recover after being down early.
Lonzo Ball was the only bright spot for UCLA in the game, scoring 24 points, six rebounds, and eight assists (10-of-15 shooting). His three co-starters – TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford, and Isaac Hamilton – combined for a mediocre 15-of-37 from the field.
That type of defeat was quite uncharacteristic of the Bruins, who were playing at home and were consistently the top-ranked offense in the country. It was the first time this season that they fell flat offensively and defensively.
We can just list that one down as an off-night, though. No one should forget that this is one stat-stuffing team. They are second overall (first among ranked teams) in points (93 PPG), first in field goal percentage (53.1 percent), first in assists (22.2 APG), and 10th in blocks (5.7 BPG). Head coach Steve Alford and his boys should be able to move along as certified juggernauts on offense.
The Bruins are 0-3 SU and ATS in their last three games against USC.
Betting on the USC Trojans (17-4, 3-3 Pac-12)
The Trojans will be coming off a much-needed win over the Arizona State Sun Devils, 82-79. It will be a good momentum builder since they have only gone 3-4 after racing to a surprising 14-0 start.
Comparing the stats on those two stretches, USC is minus 13 on points and minus five on field goal percentage following the end of their winning streak.
In trying to regain the winning form they have started with, Juniors Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart should continue taking the lead. Along with pacing the team in scoring with identical numbers (14.1 PPG), both are also contributing well in other areas – McLaughlin is their top assist man (5.1 APG), while Stewart is their designated hitter from down town (2.5 threes per game).
Sophomore Chimezie Metu, meanwhile, will look to continue being their two-way guy. He’s making the most out of the increased playing time, as he is putting up 13.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game. Led by Metu’s inside presence, the team is ranking seventh in the nation in blocks (5.9 BPG), while also holding 12 of their 21 opponents this season to shoot under 40 percent.
USC is 12-2 at home this season (7-7 ATS).
The Bruins (-7.5) win, but fail to cover, 90-84.
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