UCLA vs. USC Prediction, Game Preview

    UCLA vs. USC prediction and game preview. The Trojans can sweep the season series with a road win over the crosstown-rival Bruins on Saturday night.

    February 17, 2017

    UCLA vs. USC prediction and game preview. The Trojans can sweep the season series with a road win over the crosstown-rival Bruins on Saturday night.

    UCLA vs. USC Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Feb. 18 – 10 p.m. ET
    Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles.
    TV Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

    Andy Enfield and Steve Alford have rejuvenated their respective programs and made the Los Angeles basketball rivalry relevant again. That was on full display in the first meeting this season, as Enfield guided USC to an 84-76 home win Jan. 25.

    That victory is part of a solid resume for the Trojans (21-5, 8-5 Pac-12), who are seeking a second straight NCAA Tournament berth. The win also came without Bennie Boatwright, who was out injured at the time but has averaged 16.8 points and in four games since returning. USC was 8-0 with Boatwright in the lineup before it fell 81-70 to Oregon last Saturday.

    UCLA, which also dropped all three meetings to USC last season, will try to snap their skid in the series in the rematch on their home floor. The Bruins have won four straight since losing to the Trojans and are coming off Sunday’s 86-70 win over Oregon State.

    Lonzo Ball finished with 22 points and nine assists against the Beavers, but he wasn’t so good in the first meeting with USC.

    UCLA Wins If …

    … Ball protects the ball. The standout freshman committed a season-high seven turnovers against the Trojans last month, overshadowing a 15-point, 10-rebound effort. The Bruins finished with eight more turnovers than USC, contributing to a 12-point halftime deficit they couldn’t overcome. T.J. Leaf, Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford shouldn’t have to make up for that many empty possessions.

    USC Wins If …

    … it rediscovers its shooting touch. The Trojans shot just 37.3 percent in the loss to Oregon, a far cry from the 48.8 percent it shot during their five-game winning streak that preceded that defeat. Boatwright scored 15 points, but he was just 3 of 15 from the field while Jordan McLaughlin and De’Anthony Melton combined for just four field goals. They’ll need to take advantage of UCLA’s sub-par defense and get back on track.

    Matchup To Watch

    McLauglin vs. Ball

    Both are just as dangerous passing the ball as scoring it. McLaughlin is averaging 5.1 assists per game while Ball leads the nation in that category averaging 7.6.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: UCLA -11
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    UCLA vs. USC Prediction

    UCLA gets revenge and gives a boosts to its Pac-12 title hopes by blitzing the Trojans early and keeping a comfortable distance the rest of the way.

    UCLA vs. USC final score prediction: UCLA 84, USC 72

    MORE: College Basketball Weekend Primer – Best Games, Best Bets For Feb. 17-19


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