This season has completely gotten away from the UCLA Bruins, who went down the stretch like they were playing out the string and will need to win at least twice to even qualify for the NIT. They get things underway in the Pac 12 tournament against the crosstown rival USC Trojans, in a game that will not take place in Los Angeles at all, but instead at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 PM ET. BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice wagering before the game begins, and then after the opening tipoff they can challenge the NCAA basketball odds in real time through the magic of Live Betting Extra.
UCLA is under the .500 mark, coming in with a record of 15-16 straight-up and 11-20 against the basketball pointspread. USC is 20-11 straight-up and 17-14 against the number. Neither of these schools brings a head of steam into the proceedings; USC, which had crept into the national rankings at one point, closed out the regular campaign by losing six of their last eight games, both straight-up and against the spread. UCLA has lost four games in a row.
In the NCAA basketball odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, USC is the slight favorite on this neutral court:
These teams met twice this season, and it really was no contest either time. On January 13, USC went to Pauley Pavilion and held UCLA to just 4-for-21 from three-point range, and came out with an 89-75 victory. In the return match, set for February 4 at Galen Center, UCLA shot just 35% from the field and suffered an embarrassing 80-61 defeat. The Bruins humbled the Trojans in last year’s Pac-12 tournament, forcing 17 USC turnovers and out-shooting Andy Enfield’s team 60%-44% in a 96-70 romp.
Enfield looked like he was turning this program around in a very big way earlier in the season, as this team was 15-3 at one point. They were doing it with deadly long-range shooting, and even though they have hit 38% of their triples, they have been inconsistent in that department of late. BetAnySports customers who follow “Bracketology” know that USC may be battling for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, and they have been losing ground, with double-digit defeats to Utah, Stanford, California and Oregon over their last five games.
Steve Alford is not the most popular guy in Westwood right now, but it doesn’t look like he is going to be on his way out. His son Bryce got hit in the head against Oregon State, and had to leave the game, but he has been cleared to play here. There are some close observers who believe that the Bruins played better on the defensive end when he was not the lineup.
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