Arizona vs. USC Betting Preview March 2: Letdown Game Ahead For Wildcats?

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Boogie Ellis of the USC Trojans celebrates after a 3-point basket against the UCLA Bruins on January 26, 2023. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAB Pick: USC +2.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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USC +2.5 (-110)
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Picks Summary:

  • USC +2.5 (-110)
  • Under 155 (-108)
  • Eli “Boogie” Ellis Under 18.5 Points (-115)

Neither No. 8 Arizona nor unranked USC can win the Pac-12 regular-season title, but their game Thursday night from Los Angeles still has some importance.

Which side of the 2.5-point spread has the best value at the top-rated online books as your top NCAAB pick? We also have two other plays for your best bets as well. 

Remember, fans from the Golden State who want to wager on this game should check out our top-rated California betting sites.

Arizona Wildcats vs. USC Trojans 

Thursday, March 2, 2023 – 11:00 PM EST at Galen Center 

There’s not much better than late-night basketball from the Pac-12 – well, late-night football is better – and we have that Thursday with No. 8 Arizona looking for the season sweep against Southern Cal.

ESPN has the telecast from Los Angeles with each team looking to finish second in the Pac-12 regular-season standings

On Jan. 19 in Tucson, the Wildcats were 8.5-point favorites and covered the NCAAB spread in an 81-66 win over USC.

Azuolas Tubelis, the potential Pac-12 Player of the Year, had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Courtney Ramey had 16 points. The Cats were up 15 at the half and then never really threatened in improving to 34-3 at home against USC since the start of the 1985 season. Drew Peterson led the Trojans with 15 points before fouling out. The Trojans shot just 36.9% and made 4-for-17 from deep.  

While USC didn’t cover that game, the underdog is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. 

Arizona Off Crushing Loss 

This could be the definition of a letdown game for Arizona (24-5 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-12).

Entering Saturday, it still had a shot of winning or sharing the Pac-12 title with UCLA but that went bye-bye with a stunning 89-88 home loss to rival Arizona State in one of the most unlikely endings of the season as ASU’s Desmond Cambridge hit a shot from beyond halfcourt as time expired for the win.  

The Wildcats led by 10 with 6:30 left. From that point on, the Sun Devils allowed just one field goal and finished on a 21-10 run. UA center Oumar Ballo went 1-for-2 from the free throw line with 2.9 seconds to go to set up Cambridge’s heroics.

Frankly, I expect Arizona to be MEGA-FLAT off that game and with their regular-season finale at UCLA up next. I highly doubt the Wildcats players care about finishing second in the Pac-12 as the team already has a double bye in the conference tournament. 

I’m pretty sure Arizona will get at least one more win this season, even if it’s in the conference tournament, and if so that would be No. 58 for Tommy Lloyd, which would tie former North Carolina coach Bill Guthridge for the most wins by a head coach in his first two seasons in NCAA history.  

Azuolas Tubelis is Key for Arizona

Tubelis leads the Pac-12 in scoring (19.6 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) and the only person that could keep the junior from Lithuania from winning conference player of the Year is UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. (17.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg). The last Pac-12 player to lead the conference in scoring and rebounding was Cal’s Leon Powe in 2005-06.   

“Sometimes it surprises me how productive he is and he’s just developed into a force in college basketball and he’s tremendous at running the floor. He’s got amazing hands. He’s our version of Gronk. Some of these over-the-top passes he’s able to catch and playing in transition for a big guy is really unique,” Lloyd said of Tubelis, who has posted a double-double in three of five previous games against USC

  • The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. 
  • The under is 7-3 in the Wildcats’ last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. 

USC Unbeaten At Home 

Southern Cal (21-8, 13-5 Pac-12) is playing its best basketball at the right time on a four-game winning streak – although none of those opponents were in Arizona’s weight class. Utah is pretty good at full health but was missing two key players Saturday when the Trojans won 62-49 in Salt Lake City to clinch a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament and will begin to play in it on March 9. 

Eli “Boogie” Ellis scored a game-high 16 points, and Drew Peterson scored 14 with eight assists and seven boards. Those two make the Trojans go as Ellis leads the team in scoring at 17.2 ppg and Peterson is second (14.6) while leading in rebounds (6.4) and assists (4.7).  

Ellis leads the team with 71 three-pointers made and 102 free throws made.  Peterson is one of two players in the NCAAB Power 6 – which currently means the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and Pac-12 – along with Jalen Pickett of Penn State averaging at least 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game this season.   

The Trojans’ Tough D Fortifies Home Turf

The Trojans are a good defensive team as they have held opponents under 40 percent shooting in 17 games and are limiting teams to a 38.9 shooting percentage this season, eighth in the country. Like most teams, USC has dealt with some injuries this season but is 8-1 with its full roster available.  

Coach Andy Enfield’s club lost its home opener to Florida Gulf Coast and hasn’t lost there since. The 14-game home winning streak is USC’s longest single-season home winning streak since the Trojans won the first 15 games of the 2015-16 season. 

Is Arizona the better overall team? Yep. I would take the Cats at home or a neutral site, but all the intangibles point toward USC at home.  

  • The Trojans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. 
  • The Trojans are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games. 
  • The Trojans are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record. 

NCAAB Pick: Under 155 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 155 (-108)
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NCAAB Pick: Eli “Boogie” Ellis Under 18.5 Points (-115) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Eli “Boogie” Ellis Under 18.5 Points (-115)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.