The UCLA Bruins take on the USC Trojans. Check out our college basketball odds series for our UCLA USC prediction and pick. Find out how to watch UCLA USC.
The stakes are always high when UCLA meets USC, if only because this is a rivalry game, and rivalry games matter a lot in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and the other college basketball cities where bragging-rights games occur every year. Yet, the stakes are especially high for this game on both sides of the divide.
UCLA is coming off a loss to Arizona, its first of the Pac-12 season. The Bruins don’t want to lose consecutive conference games. They don’t want to let Arizona and USC back into the thick of the Pac-12 race, but that’s exactly what would happen if the Bruins falter here. UCLA also wants to remain in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and to at least make sure it gets a No. 2 seed at the absolute worst. A loss to USC opens the door for the Bruins to get passed on the seed list and fall to a No. 3 seed. There’s a lot for UCLA to play for.
USC’s stakes are even more urgent: The Trojans really need to beat UCLA to feel good about makin the NCAA Tournament. USC is right on the bubble. A win over UCLA would move the Trojans way up the list of teams jockeying for a spot in the field of 68. USC might not be off the bubble with a win, but it would clearly move to the good side of the bubble and leapfrog a whole bunch of competitors.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the UCLA-USC College Basketball odds.
College Basketball Odds: UCLA-USC Odds
UCLA Bruins: -4.5 (-114)
USC Trojans: +4.5 (-106)
Over: 133.5 (-110)
Under: 133.5 (-110)
How To Watch UCLA vs. USC
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. PT
*Watch UCLA-USC LIVE with fuboTV (Click for free trial)*
Why UCLA Could Cover the Spread
The Bruins are not going to lose two consecutive games. They aren’t going to play two consecutive terrible offensive games. They scored just 52 points against Arizona and couldn’t hit the side of a barn. It was just a bad shooting day for a team with a lot of skilled players. UCLA is going to play well, and if it plays well, it will almost certainly win this game.
Also, USC is not a particularly effective 3-point shooting team. The Trojans struggled to shoot 3-pointers in their last game against UCLA on January 5. They struggle to shoot 3-pointers against most of the teams they play. UCLA can pack the paint and stop dribble penetration, knowing that if it forces USC to be a jump-shooting team, the game will likely end well for the Bruins and poorly for the Trojans. USC’s offensive limitations were exploited by UCLA in the January 5 game. USC scored just 58 points. If USC scores only 58 points in this game, UCLA has to like its chances (and maybe even love them).
Why USC Could Cover the Spread
This game might seem to be a contest UCLA should win on paper. Last year, UCLA visited USC for a game the Bruins figured to win on paper … but they didn’t win. The game was not played on paper.
USC did not have big man Isaiah Mobley for last year’s home game against UCLA. Drew Peterson stepped up and had arguably the best game of his entire USC career. The Trojans have had a lot of success against UCLA at home in the Galen Center in recent seasons. USC head coach Andy Enfield has a winning record against UCLA coach Mick Cronin in head-to-head battles.
One more thing: USC is now a different team with the addition of Vince Iwuchukwu, a big man who was medically unfit to play and didn’t receive medical clearance to play until two weeks ago. His defense and rebounding could be an X-factor for USC against UCLA.
Final UCLA-USC Prediction & Pick
You should stay away from this game, but if you absolutely insist on a pick, lean to UCLA.
Final UCLA-USC Prediction & Pick: UCLA -4.5