College basketball betting season is in full swing, and, the NCAA is shifting into high gear. Arizona State at USC will showcase one of the country’s young superstars, a lithe 7-foot center who might take the Trojans far in March, perhaps even into April.
- Arizona State at Southern California -10.5, Total 146, Wednesday, 8 pm ET
- Action: Under 146
It has been a watershed season for the Trojans, who are 15th in the NET rankings and 12th on the KenPom chart. They entered the week atop the Pac-12 at 11-2, a game ahead of UCLA; USC snuffed out its rival this season at the Galen Center, and the Pauley Pavilion rematch is March 6. Although USC won the Pac-12 tournament crown in 2009, it last won an outright league title in 1961.
|William Hill||Point Spread||Moneyline||Totals|
|Arizona State||+10.5 (-110)||+450||O 146 (-110)|
|USC||-10.5 (-110)||-625||U 146 (-110)|
Luka Garza, Iowa’s powerful 6-foot-11, 265-pound force, came back for his senior season and has dominated. He leads the country averaging 24.5 points, and teamrankings.com lists Garza No. 1 in NBA efficiency, with a 26.19 rating. He has produced 12 Game MVP honors, according to Ken Pomeroy’s well-respected rankings.
However, Evan Mobley, USC’s fabulous 7-foot-1, 215-pound freshman, recently overtook Garza atop that Game MVP chart with his 13th such accolade. Mobley demands attention. Team rankings lists him 10th, the highest-rated rookie, at 23.25 in NBA efficiency. Expect the Georgia native to continue impacting the Pac-12 Conference and the national landscape.
Mobley shoots 2-pointers at a 62.4% clip, takes and hits an occasional 3-pointer, and is above-average at the line. His 3.1 blocks a game are fifth in the country, he swipes the ball, sets up teammates with assists and has yanked down double-figure rebounds nine times.
He is the Formula 1 engine that powers what might be USC’s best basketball team.
Shorthanded Sun Devils
In another scenario, a 7-9 campaign that included a six-game losing streak would raise administrative eyebrows. Sixth-year ASU boss Bobby Hurley, however, has a built-in cushion by having won 63 games his past three seasons.
ASU’s footprint shows a very average squad, bad outside the perimeter and a flimsy overall defense, but its guard play can be above average.
It has had six players on the shelf at one time, and it isn’t known when the Sun Devils’ fab frosh, Josh Christopher, will return from a leg injury. For now, Remy Martin must be a one-man gang.
The senior point guard has rung up 95 points in his past four games, three of them victories. All were at home, however, and against mediocre opponents. He’s participated in two games at USC, both defeats by 71-61 and 69-67 scores. In Tempe on Jan. 9, USC was a 4-point favorite when it won, 73-64.
This one will be far more challenging.
Double Dose Of Mobleys
With Evan Mobley at the fulcrum of the USC attack, the Trojans are among the nation’s top 32 effective offenses. Inside their Galen Center, though, they’re even better, with a 0.995 effective possession ratio that is 15th in the country.
Tahj Eaddy, a 6-2 senior guard, is next on SC’s scoring chart with 13.5 points a game. Evan’s older brother Isaiah, a 6-10 sophomore forward, kicks in with 9.3 points and 7.6 boards. The Mobley brothers, man, are a handful.
Nine of the past 10 between these two have finished Under, where 12 of USC’s previous 17 games have ended. Thirteen-point spreads always demand caution, especially if a furious Martin rallies to keep a deficit within single-digit respectability.
However, this likely forecast for this one replicates USC’s game against UCLA at the Galen Center on Feb. 6, when the Trojans thoroughly dismantled the shorthanded Bruins in a 66-48 victory. USC led, 17-11, after 10 minutes, and won each of the next three 10-minute segments, totally demoralizing the Bruins.
The Mobley brothers have that effect on the other guys.