#23 USC (18-6, 7-4) at #17 Arizona (20-5, 8-4)
When: Sunday, February 14th 2016
Where: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: Fox Sports 1
The Arizona Wildcats, fresh off a comeback win over UCLA, will look to avenge an earlier season loss to the USC Trojans when the two teams meet on Sunday night in Tucson. Back on January 9th, the Trojans beat Arizona in the second-longest game in conference history 103-101 in quadruple-overtime. That was Arizona’s second straight loss at the time, but since then have won seven of nine to get within a half a game of Oregon in the competitive Pac-12 standings. The Wildcats erased a 10-point halftime deficit on Friday night to defeat UCLA 81-75 to avoid a season sweep. Ryan Anderson (13) and Kaleb Tarczewski (14) combined for 27 rebounds against the Bruins. Anderson, a transfer from Boston College, leads the team in scoring (16.0 points) and rebounding (10.5) while Gabe York (14.7 points), who is shooting 42.8% from 3-point range, and freshman guard Allonzo Trier (14.5) also are averaging in double figures. Trier broke his hand in the first meeting with USC and has come back to play the last two games and had a team-high 18 points on Friday. Arizona will host rival Arizona State on Wednesday before getting a week off.
USC is still in the thick of the Pac-12 race at 7-4, but got caught looking ahead on Friday night when they fell at Arizona State 74-67. The Trojans played a sloppy game and committed 17 turnovers. Leading scorer Nikola Jovanovic (12.8) had 25 points and 15 rebounds in the loss after getting just 9 points and 3 boards against UCLA the game before. USC has five other players that average in double-figures including sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin (12.6), junior guard Katin Reinhardt (12.3) and junior point guard Julian Jacobs (12.3), who also leads the conference in assists (5.7). Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright (11.7) and sophomore guard Elijah Stewart (10.6) also average in double figures, although Boatwright went scoreless and grabbed just one rebound in 14 minutes of action before fouling out against the Sun Devils. Jacobs had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven steals in 53 minutes of action in the quadruple-overtime thriller back in January. USC has lost six straight in Tucson and have failed to cover the spread in every one of those.
I have to stick with the recent trend here of Arizona winning and covering against USC the last six years. The Trojans are just 4-6 ATS on the road while the Wildcats are 8-6.
Pick: Arizona -9