Crosstown rivals meet in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 2 UCLA Bruins battle with the third-seeded USC Trojans tonight in Las Vegas.
Not only is it a rivalry, but it’s also a college basketball betting rubber match after these teams split their two regular-season matchups (although USC covered in both contests).
UCLA outclassed No. 7 Washington State 75-65 in the second round yesterday in a game that was never truly in doubt, while USC overcame 21 first-half points from Washington's Terrell Brown Jr. to win a close one, 65-61.
This one should definitely be worth staying up late to watch — but what’s the best bet to place if you plan on having some action on this nightcap?
Check out our free college basketball picks and predictions for UCLA vs. USC Trojans on Friday, March 11 to find out.
UCLA vs USC odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The line has remained steady since opening UCLA -6. The total also hasn’t budged at the time of writing since being set at 136.5 across most books.
UCLA vs USC predictions
Predictions made on 3/11/2022 at 8:16 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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UCLA vs USC game info
• Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
• Date: Friday, March 11, 2022
• Tip-off: 11:30 p.m. ET
• TV: FS1
UCLA vs USC betting preview
UCLA: Max Etienne F (Out).
USC: Isaiah White G (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Trojans are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. Find more NCAA betting trends for UCLA vs. USC.
UCLA vs USC picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
UCLA made light work of Washington State in the second round, winning 75-65 and leading by double-digits for almost the entire second half. Jaime Jaquez and Jules Bernard combined for 42 points in the win, and Jaquez himself managed 17 points after halftime. It was an impressive performance, albeit against an overmatched Cougars team that had nothing to challenge the Bruins from an athleticism standpoint.
USC dominated No. 6 seed Washington — in the box score, but not the final score. The Trojans shot 49% from the field compared to just 31% for the Huskies but still managed to win by a score of only 65-61. How is that possible? The Trojans turned the ball over a season-high 23 times, including a handful in the final minutes of the game. The Trojans will need to be crisper to make this a game.
UCLA looked very impressive while handling the Cougars and is not a team to play around with. Both teams made the Elite Eight a season ago (UCLA advanced to the Final Four), so we expect high-level tournament basketball. The Bruins return all five starters from a year ago while the Trojans lost a few pieces (including lottery pick and all-world talent Evan Mobley).
The home team won each meeting this year. The Bruins won 75-68 in Pauley Pavilion on Mar. 5, and the Trojans won 67-64 at home on Feb. 12. despite missing star forward Isaiah Mobley. We now have a meeting at a neutral court, yet the Bruins are favored by six points despite barely winning by that margin at home.
This line seems too wide. USC has plenty of size down low to alter shots. The Bruins live in the midrange and the paint but won’t find things easy against a Trojans defense that ranks 14th in the country in field-goal defense (38.9%).
The Trojans are 6-1 ATS in their last seven as the underdog. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these two schools. We think there’s line value with the Trojans: UCLA is the better team on paper but the margins are slim.
USC has the size and defense to be a bothersome matchup for its crosstown rivals.
Prediction: USC +6 (-110)
Both teams are stingy defensively. The Bruins allow only 64.3 points per game while ranking 11th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. They possess length on the wing and strong defense down low.
The Trojans allow only 66 ppg while being one of the top shooting defenses in the country, plus both teams play at a slow pace. UCLA ranks 252nd in KenPom’s adjusted tempo metric, while USC isn’t far ahead at 229 — there shouldn’t be an excessive number of possessions in this game.
As mentioned earlier, USC should be able to limit what UCLA does best. The Trojans have the size and athleticism to alter shots at the rim and from the midrange, the spots where the Bruins do much of their damage, while UCLA has a top-notch defense by all measures and will be locked in for this matchup.
Prediction: Under 136.5 (-110)
These teams split the regular-season meetings, with the home team coming out victorious each time. This is a rubber match, rivalry game, and tournament semifinal all bottled into one late-night basketball game.
This should be a closely contested affair and therefore we’ll be siding with the team catching six points. We’re backing the Trojans to hang tight.
Pick: USC +6 (-110)
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