Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 4:00 PM
Phase One of “Revenge Weekend” in Tucson is complete. Arizona overcame a slow start to beat UCLA Friday night. Sunday, USC comes to visit in a rematch of a multiple overtime thriller that the Trojans won early in Pac 12 play a few weeks ago. Arizona would love to sweep this home set to make up for that lost weekend in Hollywood!
Of course, more than revenge is at stake. Arizona is currently 8-4 in the Pac 12 standings, slightly ahead of USC at 7-4. Both are trying to chase down Oregon at the top of the league. Things took awhile to sort themselves out in this competitive conference. For now, it seems clear that Oregon, Arizona, and USC are locks for the Big Dance…while a few other teams still have some resume building to do.
Let’s run through JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats for this high profile Sunday showcase of ranked powers. (Though, USC is in very serious danger of falling out of the rankings if a loss in Tucson follows their loss at Arizona State Friday night).
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
USC: 112.0 per 100 possessions (#37 in the nation)
Arizona: 115.0 per 100 possessions (#19 in the nation)
Arizona has the more efficient offense once you adjust for pace and strength of schedule (according to the publicly available data at Ken Pomeroy’s stat website). But, they have had some issues on the road that could be a problem in the postseason. For how, at home with revenge…this should be a game where the Wildcats perform well. Or, let’s say it this way. If Arizona DOESN’T perform well in this spot…then you have to raise real questions about their postseason readiness. USC is top 40 in this stat…which is fine “nationally” but not so great once the elites have to play themselves. Edge to Arizona.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
USC: 96.0 per 100 possessions (#40 in the nation)
Arizona: 95.4 per 100 possessions (#34 in the nation)
Slight edge here to the Wildcats…though both teams will have issues in March if this is the best they can do at getting stops. We won’t really know for sure if the Pac 12 hype machine overshot the mark this season until we get to postseason interconference action. Based on the eye test, these defenses aren’t good enough to scare other elite offenses. If Sunday’s game turns into a shootout…it will be a great show for fans but a strike against these programs making any sort of Elite 8 run down the road. JIM HURLEY’S big Super Bowl sweep on the Denver Broncos and the Under was just the latest reminder that DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!
USC plays racehorse basketball, which has tricked some in the media into thinking the Trojan offense is better than it really is. Playoff style basketball often slows down, which means March opponents can take USC out of its comfort zone fairly easily. Arizona’s fairly average in preferred pace…which means they can adjust if needed to any style. Even if USC ends up sweeping the season series, today’s numbers are suggesting that Arizona is slightly better suited to the challenges ahead in the tourneys. The Trojans will make for great television, but may not last to star in too many telecasts unless they shoot lights out.
Against the Spread
Arizona: 14-11 (16-9 to the Over)
Oddsmakers were caught with their points down regarding the Trojans this season. And, that record was 15-7-1 ATS before the poor result at Arizona State Friday night. Arizona’s done a good job ATS considering that expectations are always so high. They’ve played some real lemons on the road in Pac 12 action…but are still moneymakers for the season. Sharp observers have been taking advantage of Overs in Arizona games too. The offense is efficient, while the defense isn’t as good as many pundits thought it would be.
Great way to cap off a blockbuster weekend in college basketball. So many ranked teams playing Dance caliber opponents. Fans and bettors will have a much better sense of what’s on the immediate horizon after the dust has settled. Close out your weekend with a Super Sunday of basketball!
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No time to rest after Sunday because more great college hoop action is on the way! Look for these previews soon in the NOTEBOOK…
Monday-Tuesday: West Virginia at Texas Tuesday night in the Big 12
Wednesday: Duke at North Carolina in the ACC
Thursday: Wisconsin at Michigan State in the Big 10
Friday-Saturday: Kentucky at Texas A&M Saturday in the SEC
That’s five reports from the five major conferences if you count today’s visit to the Pac 12. Great races across the national landscape. Great Las Vegas bets every night from PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY! Let’s go GET THE MONEY!
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