Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
|Arizona Wildcats||-4.5||O 150.5|
|USC Trojans||+4.5||U 150.5|
The top-two teams in the PAC-12 will face off for the second time this season. The Arizona Wildcats will travel to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans. Arizona beat UCLA 72-63 behind a strong second-half push in their first game.
The Arizona Wildcats took part in a historic Saturday last week. They lost to the unranked Colorado Buffaloes 79-63 on a day where each top-six team lost. That was the first time in history that each top-six team lost in the same day. Regardless of that loss, the Wildcats are an excellent team and could win it all this year. Canadian guard Bennedict Mathurin leads them; Mathurin is a tall guard that averages 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Outside of Mathurin, the Wildcats have three other players, Azoulas Tubelis, Christian Koloko, and Kerr Kriisa, scoring ten or more points. Tubelis, Koloko, and Kriisa are all solid shooters from the field and bring different skill sets to the floor. Koloko is also a dominant rim protector and averages 2.9 blocks per game.
The USC Trojans started the season quite well but have slowed down. The Trojans went undefeated in non-conference play and spent some time in the top-ten but have lost a few times against conference opponents. Still, they are playing well and can make a deep run in March Madness. Isaiah Mobley leads the Trojans. Mobley is the older brother of Cleveland Cavaliers rookie guard Evan Mobley, but I would not be surprised if we see him in the NBA soon too. Isaiah Mobley leads the Trojans in points (14.6), minutes (33.6), and rebounds (8.4) per game. He is a dominant forward that shoots well from all over the floor. Guards Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis have also been critical to USC’s success. They are both scoring over 12 points per game and are solid rebounders. Even though USC is playing at home, I am picking Arizona to win. The Wildcats have a more well-rounded roster.
Arizona beats USC 80-71. Arizona cover, Over 150.5 points.
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|Tommy Lloyd||Head Coach||Andy Enfield|
|25-3 (15-2, 1st in PAC-12)||Standing||25-4 (14-4, 2nd in PAC-12)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Bennedict Mathurin (17.3)||PPG||Isaiah Mobley (14.6)|
|Christian Koloko (7.4)||RPG||Isaiah Mobley (8.4)|
|Kerr Kriisa (5.0)||APG||Drew Peterson (3.3)|
|Dalen Terry (1.1)||SPG||Boogie Ellis (0.9)|
|Christian Koloko (3.0)||BPG||Joshua Morgan (1.0)|
|Oumar Ballo (.626)||FG%||Chevez Goodwin (.574)|
|Bennedict Mathurin (.379)||3P%||Drew Peterson (.436)|
The Wildcats are the better team, but they are facing a USC squad that has beat some difficult opponents. The Wildcats need to focus on protecting the rim and playing team basketball.
The Wildcats are a big team with two strong rim protectors. Christian Koloko and Oumar Ballo combine for four blocks a game and make it hard to score at the hoop. They need to continue to protect the rim and force USC to depend on outside shots.
Arizona is an excellent passing team. They average 20.2 assists per game, the best in the country. The Wildcats just have to continue looking for the open man and making the right passes.
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USC has a tough matchup in Arizona. However, they can still win if they increase their ball movement and create turnovers.
USC is not a bad passing team, but they could do better. Their 14.6 assists per game are not good enough to be in the top-50 in the country. They need to look for the open man more and make more passes in this game.
USC is also not great at creating turnovers. They average 5.5 steals per game, 278th-best in the country. They need to steal the ball more this game. This should not be too difficult since much of Arizona’s scoring comes from their big men.
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Point guard Kerr Kriisa has been the Wildcats floor general and vital to the Wildcats’ success this season.
Kriisa’s stats do not jump out at you. He averages 10.2 points and 5.0 assists in almost 30 minutes per game. He is the Wildcats key player because he runs the offense. Kriisa’s role is so much deeper than how many points he scores; he makes sure the offense moves efficiently and has done an excellent job this season.
Shooting guard Drew Peterson is playing well in his final season at USC. The 6’9” senior averages 12.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game. However, that is not the reason he is the Trojans key player.
Peterson is the Trojans key player because of his late-game heroics against Oregon last game. USC was down by two with 18 seconds left. Peterson took the ball up the court and hit the game-winning three with 11.5 seconds left. He ended the game with a team-leading 20 points.
Peterson must be feeling pretty good about himself right now and will probably have a big game against Arizona. Arizona cannot leave him open, or he will make them pay.
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|No. 2 Arizona Wildcats vs No. 16 USC Trojans Information|
|What||No. 2 Arizona Wildcats vs No. 16 USC Trojans|
|Where||Galen Center, Los Angeles, California|
|When||Tuesday, March 1, 11:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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