USC Trojans Shock Arizona Wildcats

By Lucas M.

When it comes to men’s basketball, the USC Trojans often leave a lot to be desired. However, that was not the case on Wednesday night as the Trojans soundly defeated the No. 11-ranked Arizona Wildcats 89-78 at home. It was USC’s first win over a ranked opponent in two years.

“It’s a tremendous victory for the team and for the program,” USC interim coach Bob Cantu said. “We played for 40 minutes, we got stops when we needed and we shot the ball really, really well. We shot 61 percent, which was big-time against a tremendous team. I believe Arizona’s a team that can be in the Final Four, without any question. Tonight was our night.”

There’s no question that it was the Trojans night. They had five players in double figures and Eric Wise, their leading scorer with 22 points, shot 9-12 from the field. The team’s shooting totals were lights out across the board: they made 33 of 54 field goal attempts, good for an astounding 61.1 shooting percentage. It was just one of those nights for the Trojans; as they heated up on their home court, they simply couldn’t miss a shot. They were seven point underdogs heading into the game, once again illustrating the folly of betting big on a road team in college basketball. The phrase “any given Sunday” may have been coined to illustrate the randomness of NFL outcomes, but it’s equally true for any college basketball game.

Here were a few of the other gambling trends for both teams, per

Arizona Wildcats Trends:
When playing on Wednesday are 7-3
Before playing UCLA are 7-3
After playing Washington State are 6-4
After a win are 7-3

USC Trojans Trends:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Arizona State are 4-6
After playing UCLA are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

A few Wildcats at Trojans trends to consider:
Arizona is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Arizona’s last 11 games on the road
Arizona is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Arizona is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against USC
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of USC’s last 5 games when playing Arizona
USC is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Arizona
USC is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
USC is 3-4-2 ATS in its last 9 games

Turnovers have been a huge problem for the Wildcats all season, and while coach Sean Miller tried to downplay the importance of his team’s turnovers afterward, it was one of the most obvious reasons for their loss.

“Our offense, although not perfect, we got to the foul line 30 times,” Miller said. “I think we had 13 turnovers, and although you would like to have less than that, it wasn’t really a problem. We had some 3s that didn’t go in, but when you look at this game, it was about our inability to stop USC. And you have to give USC a lot of credit; they made timely shots and big plays.”

However, despite this hiccup on their schedule, the Wildcats should be fine; they’re 11-5 in Pac-12 play, only behind 11-4 UCLA and 11-4 Oregon. They’re at UCLA next week, a huge game for their conference title hopes, and then end the season with the Arizona State Sun Devils at home. While the loss to the Trojans was shocking, the Wildcats are looking pretty good as they roll into March.