UCLA/USC Rematch Should be Electric
Wayne Root: UCLA/USC Rematch Should be Electric!
The college basketball season is just flying by. It wasn't long ago when we were talking about the first USC/UCLA game...right after both of those teams had knocked off Arizona. The rematch will be played Thursday Night on the Trojans' home floor. UCLA will be hoping to avenge the loss they suffered in Pauley Pavilion.
Back then, people were first starting to wonder if USC was really better than UCLA. It's not often you say that in this sport. UCLA has the most storied program in history. Even when they start to ebb, it seems like USC is ebbing even worse. But, right now, it seems pretty clear that USC is the better of the two teams.
*USC won the first meeting very impressively 89-75
*USC was only +2.5 in that game, a bit below the standard value of home court
*USC has surged to 6-3 in Pac 12 play
*UCLA is a disappointing 4-5 in Pac 12 play
*UCLA has already played four games vs. Washington and Washington State, meaning they're looking at having a losing record for the full Pac 12 rotation
The Bruins have a losing record vs. a relatively soft schedule so far (granting that it's a tough league this year). If they lose as underdogs Thursday, they'll fall to 4-6 with a lot of challenges ahead. Frankly, they're in real danger of not making the NCAA's this year! And, honestly, they're not looking like a tournament team right now. They can blow out bad teams...but really lose their composure vs. quality.
I may or may not be releasing UCLA/USC to my clients. As I write this, I'm still deciding. You regulars know that I prefer underdogs as a general rule...particularly revenge-minded underdogs in rivalries! But...if UCLA is going to keep imploding under pressure, then they're not a great bet at a short price. I'll be working my sources here locally and in LA to try to get the right read on the game.
I can assure you though that I'll be watching this one very closely on TV. What we see may trigger smart bets on or against BOTH teams down the stretch and into the postseason. And, I really have my eye on USC as a potential Cinderella come March.
*The Trojans are ideally suited to take the nation by surprise in the Dance
*The Trojans will be battle tested by a tough conference slate
*The Trojans will REALLY be confident if they sweep UCLA and continue to get results
You've probably noticed that many of the big name programs have slid off the pace this season. That's true for Arizona in the Pac 12 (currently in SIXTH place in the Pac 12 even though the computers still like them). That's also true for Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, and a few other perennial powers. The door is going to be WIDE OPEN for teams like USC (among others) to storm through and make headlines in March. Be sure you're looking for these teams in February!
Developing an "us against the world" mentality
Their super-fast pace may not translate to playoff style basketball
Their defense is good by national standards, but not by Dance-caliber standards
Lack of "under the spotlight" experience may cost them eventually
It really could go either way. And, their tournament draws (Pac 12 and Big Dance) could have a big influence on how the postseason plays out. I will definitely be looking to take them as underdogs in statement-making scenarios unless they start to look tired from all of their running around. Appearances in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 aren't out of the question. For now, we need to see how they handle a revenge-minded rivalry underdog opponent!
My clients and I will keep building our bankrolls for this Sunday's Super Bowl with nightly basketball. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS.
Next time we'll focus again on that Denver/Carolina showdown. Earlier this week I talked about upset potential for the Broncos. We still haven't yet seen any important money coming in on Denver. Time is running out! Will THE KING OF UPSETS be looking for an outright shocker? Or, was that early money right that Carolina is the class of the league right now? That and more this weekend from the only man in the sports betting industry who has a star on the "Walk of Fame" here in Las Vegas.
The Super Bowl is imminent. March Madness is just around the corner. I own this town because I win the big events year after year. That means it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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