USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins, Pauley Pavilion, Westwood, California
Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports Net
Opening Line: UCLA -3
Current Line: UCLA -3
Opening Total: 131 1/2
Current Total: 130 1/2
Money Line: UCLA -150 / USC +130
These two crosstown rivals played each other on January 9 in the Galen Center. The USC Trojans had the upper 4and in that game 63-52 against the rival UCLA Bruins. Neither team is really great, and if they make the post-season it will most likely be in the NIT unless they get hot in March and win the Pac-10 tournament. USC is 12-10 overall and 4-5 in the conference. UCLA is 14-7 overall and 6-3 in the conference. In addition to the win over UCLA, The Trojans have wins over Texas, Tennessee, Washington St, Stanford and Arizona St. They have losses to Rider, Bradley, Nebraska, TCU, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, Oregon St, Cal, and Arizona on the season. They lost at Arizona last Saturday 82-73 in their last game. UCLA has losses to Villanova, VCU, Kansas, Montana, Washington, and Arizona in addition to the loss at USC. The Bruins have wins over BYU, Washington St, Oregon St, Cal, Stanford, and Arizona St. UCLA beat Arizona St in Tempe 73-72 in overtime Saturday night. UCLA leads the overall series 128-104, including 61-21 at home since 1947. USC has won 4 of the last 6 straight up but the teams are 3-3 against the spread. Four of the last six have gone under the total. The Trojans are 14-5 ATS as underdogs in the last 2 seasons. USC is 11-3 ATS when the total is between 130 and 140 the last 2 seasons. UCLA is 6-16 ATS in the same scenario the last two seasons.
USC guard Bryce Jones has left the team. He was averaging 7.6 points a game. Junior Forward Nikola Vucevic leads the team in scoring with 16.6 points, rebounding with 10.0 a game, and blocks with 1.3 a game. Junior guard Jio Fontan averages 11.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.9 steals a game. He missed the 1st 9 games of the season. Maurice Jones averages 10.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.4 steals a game. Jones leads the team in both steals and assists. Donte Smith averages 10.4 points a game, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. Alex Stepheson averages 9.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks a game. USC is outscoring opponents 68-63 on the season. They shoot 44.9% from the field and 36.7% from 3-point range. USC opponents are shooting 41.1% from the field. The Trojans make 65% of their free throws. They average 34.7 rebounds and have a rebounding margin of +2.5. The Trojans average 12.1 assists and 12.2 turnovers a game. The force 12.7 turnovers a game on defense. USC averages 6.4 steals and 2.9 blocks a game.
UCLA forward Reeves Nelson is listed as probable against USC with an ankle injury. Nelson is averaging 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. He is the leading scorer and rebounder. Forward Tyler Honeycutt averages 13.3 points, 8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and leads the team in blocks with 1.7 a game. Guard Malcolm Lee averages 12.9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Guard Lazeric Jones averages 11.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and leads the team in assists with 3.3 a game. Center Joshua Smith averages 10 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. UCLA is outscoring opponents 72-69 on the year. The Bruins are shooting 45.8% from the field and and 32.8% from 3-point range. Bruin opponents are shooting 42.4% from the field. The Bruins shoot 66.9% from the free throw line. UCLA averages 37.3 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +3.5. The Bruins average 14.8 assists and 14.9 turnovers a game. UCLA forces 12.6 turnovers a game on defense. UCLA averages 5.7 steals and 5.1 blocks a game.
UCLA has a better shot of going to the NCAA tournament than USC does, but as I said neither of these teams are exceptional. UCLA is the better rebounding team. USC is the better defensive team but the struggle to score sometimes. Bettors should keep an eye on the Reeves situation for UCLA. Even if he plays we don’t know effective he will be.
Our college basketball handicappers are red hot this season. Don’t miss out on any more winners as we get closer to March.