There are few college basketball rivalries that are as heated as the one that takes place between crosstown rivals in Tinseltown. The UCLA Bruins are angry over what happened to them last year at the hands of the USC Trojans, and they are hell bent on revenge as this Wednesday game tips off at 11 PM ET from the Galen Center, which is USC’s home floor. Fox Sports 1 will televise the festivities, and while BetAnySports customers are watching it live, they can place real-time wagers at the same time using the facilities of Live Betting Ultra.
UCLA is 19-2 straight-up and 12-9 against the spread. They are ranked seventh in the Coaches’ poll and eighth by the Associated Press, and there is the opportunity for upward movement, since three out of the first four teams in the polls were upset on Tuesday night. But UCLA is coming off a defeat in its last game, as Arizona beat them 96-85. The Wildcats had nine triples in the ball game and shot 50% overall, and they are that rare team with some size and the ability to run up and down the floor with the Bruins. UCLA’s best win this season came in Lexington, as they beat the Kentucky Wildcats, exhibiting the balance that is their hallmark, with six players scoring at least 13 points.
USC is 17-4, with a 9-11 mark against the pointspread. They won their first 13 games, in a relatively soft non-conference schedule, but they have come back to earth since Pac 12 play began. They lost to the same Arizona team last week, mounting a furious comeback after being down by 23 points, before running out of gas. But then they turned around and beat Arizona State 82-79 in their last outing, and shot lights-out from beyond the three-point arc, making 14 out of 27. That may be the kind of shooting they need to keep up with UCLA, which is even bigger and faster up and down the floor.
In the college basketball odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, UCLA is the solid favorite on the road:
UCLA Bruins -7
USC Trojans +7
Over 170 points -110
Under 170 points -110
UCLA is 10th in the nation in Adjusted Tempo, according to the statistics compiled by the analytics site KenPom.com. And it takes a lot to outscore this crew; they averaged 93 points per game, and everybody, it seems, can shoot the ball. At any given time, they could have five players on the court who are deadly accurate from three-point range, and that includes two of their fabulous freshmen. Lonzo Ball was Mr. Basketball the state of California last year, and he averages 14.9 points per game, shooting 43.6% from beyond the arc. He will handle point guard duties. His fellow frosh, TJ Leaf, is a 6-10 forward who can play inside or outside. He averages 16.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and shoots 63.6% from the floor, including 48.8% from three-point territory. Leaf was the runner-up to Ball for Mr. Basketball last season in the Golden State.
USC bring some size to the table, although BetAnySports patrons should know that it is not as much as UCLA. It might be a different story if they had one of their very talented big men, Benny Boatwright, who is out with a back injury, but the guy who will have to assume most of the burden underneath is Chimizie Metu, who doesn’t step out to the perimeter much on offense, but is going to be a difficult physical presence for either Leaf or seven-footer Thomas Welsh to deal with. The backcourt contains a couple of three-point shooters in Jordan MacLaughlin and Elijah Stewart, who hit 29 points against Arizona State the other day. Last season, USC defeated UCLA three times, and that was the first three-game sweep they had against the Bruins since 1942. All of the games were decided by double-digit margins, so there is certainly quite a revenge angle for Steve Alford’s team in this one.
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