The USC Trojans take on the UCLA Bruins. Check out our college basketball odds series for our USC UCLA prediction and pick. Find out how to watch USC UCLA.
The UCLA Bruins escaped Washington State with a win on Friday. They were very fortunate to win that game by one point after trailing for most of the proceedings. UCLA was either tied or trailing for over 37 minutes in that game, but the Bruins locked down Washington State in the final minutes and won, 67-66. It was going to be very significant for the Bruins to respond the right way to that narrow win on Sunday, when they faced the Washington Huskies. Sure enough, UCLA took charge of that contest early and controlled the flow of play from start to finish in a commanding win which enabled the Bruins to regard the Washington State game as an aberration, not any indication of impending decline.
Overall, UCLA has played really well over the past few weeks, with the Washington State game being the exception. UCLA’s defense smothered Kentucky. The Bruins crushed Maryland on the road in a total wipeout. Coach Mick Cronin is getting strong performances from a deep lineup at both ends of the floor. This is the team which looks like a Final Four contender. This is the team many people expected to see before the season began. This is the team which was ranked in the preseason top 10. UCLA lost to Illinois and Baylor in late November, and the Bruins simply didn’t start the season well. Now they look like the real deal. They seem to have turned a corner.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the USC-UCLA College Basketball odds.
College Basketball Odds: USC-UCLA Odds
USC Trojans: +11.5 (-115)
UCLA Bruins: -11.5 (-105)
Over: 137.5 (-110)
Under: 137.5 (-110)
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Why USC Could Cover the Spread
The point spread is large, and even though UCLA is clearly a better team than USC, the Trojans have played the Bruins well in recent years. USC head coach Andy Enfield has a winning head-to-head record against UCLA coach Mick Cronin. The Trojans not only beat the Bruins last season; they did so on a night when their best player, big man Isaiah Mobley (who is now playing professional basketball), was injured and did not play. USC-UCLA Basketball games have been tough, contentious and close in recent years. A spread of over 11 points is quite a lot, and the Trojans just have to be competitive in order to cover. They don’t have to win the game outright. Because USC really needs this game for its NCAA Tournament chances, however, there’s a good shot that the Trojans will in fact keep the game close. They will play with desperation and also a little anger after losing to Washington State this past Sunday. Their defense is going to be better.
Why UCLA Could Cover the Spread
This UCLA team is playing well. The Washington State game was a brief deviation from how the Bruins have performed over the past few weeks. Their defense has really shifted into high gear, smothering both Kentucky and Maryland and doing really well in the final minutes of the Washington State win plus the full 40 minutes against Washington. Even if shots are not going in and rhythm does not exist on offense, UCLA can still win games on defense because it doesn’t let up or get soft at that end of the floor. Cronin has a veteran team which makes sure that bad offense does not lead to bad defense. If UCLA gets anything of note on offense in this game, it will crush USC with its defense.
Final USC-UCLA Prediction & Pick
UCLA’s best basketball will beat USC by 20, but USC has a way of making sure that UCLA doesn’t play its best against the Trojans. The spread is large, and USC will cover it.
Final USC-UCLA Prediction & Pick: USC +11.5
How To Watch USC vs. UCLA
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. PT