Odds & Pick for Arizona State vs. USC College Basketball: Back Trojans in Favorable Matchup (Wednesday, Feb. 17)
John McCoy/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Mobley.
- USC goes for a season sweep of Arizona State on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
- The Trojans are a dominant force inside the arc, which presents a huge matchup problem for the Sun Devils.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down why he is backing USC as heavy home favorites.
Arizona State vs. USC Odds
USC continues its quest for a Pac 12 regular-season title on Wednesday night against a resurgent Arizona State.
Bobby Hurley’s squad has gone through a lot of adversity this season, but the Sun Devils seem to have found their stride, having won three of their last four games in conference play.
They took care of Oregon State their last time out without two of their best players in Marcus Bagley and Joshua Christopher. Both did not practice this week but are traveling for the game. If both of them are out, it’s going to be tough sledding for the Sun Devils, who are already two games below .500.
The Trojans are in the midst of one of the program’s best seasons in the past decade, currently holding a one-game lead in the Pac 12 standings. USC has won 12 of its last 13 games and is one of the most dominant teams in the paint, led by five-star freshman Evan Mobley.
USC beat Arizona State, 73-64, in Tempe back in January, a result it’ll be looking to repeat as heavy favorites on its home floor.
When the Trojans have the ball
The Trojans absolutely dominate their opponents in the paint. USC is shooting a cool 52.3% from 2-point range and 62.6% on shot attempts at the rim, according to Hoop-Math.
The reason they are so good in the paint is twofold: 1) The Trojans are the tallest team in the country, and 2) They have one of the best freshmen in Mobley, who is averaging 16.6 points and nine rebounds per game.
USC is also the best offensive rebounding team in the Pac-12, grabbing them at a 35.3% rate in conference play, per KenPom.
That was a big reason it won the first meeting in Tempe, as the Trojans snagged 13 offensive boards. Arizona State is going to be outmatched in height, so I think USC should have plenty of second-chance opportunities.
Arizona State’s defense has been below average in conference play, and quite frankly the Sun Devils match up terribly against USC. They are one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the conference and also allow over 59% shooting on shot attempts at the rim.
They also allows one of the highest free throw rates to their opponents, so I think it’s going to have a lot of trouble defending on the road.
When Arizona State has the ball
Hurley loves to push the pace on his opponents, which is evident by the Sun Devils playing one of the fastest tempos in the country (14th, per KenPom).
They have really struggled to get things going during conference play, though, averaging only 1.00 points per possession in Pac-12 play. Arizona State is the worst 3-point shooting team in the conference, averaging 30.7% from deep.
In the first meeting, shooting the ball from deep was not the Sun Devils’ problem — it was inside the arc where they had issues.
Arizona State shot only 31.5% from 2-point range, which is not that surprising considering that USC is the No. 1 team in the Pac-12 defending inside the arc. The Trojans are also 19th in the nation at defending shot attempts at the rim and have the 11th highest block rate in the country.
It’s safe to say that trying to score inside on the Trojans is a death sentence.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Trying to score on the Trojans when you can’t hit a high percentage from outside the arc is a recipe for disaster. If the Sun Devils are without Bagley and Christopher, I don’t know how they are going to generate offense on the road.
Additionally, USC has a massive size advantage, so it’s just all-around a terrible situation for Arizona State.
I have the Trojans projected as -13.02 favorites at home, so I think there is plenty of value on them at -10.5 even if Christopher and Bagley play.
Pick: USC -10.5 (up to -11).