The battle for Los Angeles will be renewed on Saturday as USC visits a UCLA bunch that is out to avenge a 66-48 loss in February.
UCLA has scored at least 74 points in four of its past five games. The Bruins have converted 51.6 percent of their field goals in this stretch while averaging 66.5 possessions per game, putting them among the slowest 25 teams in the country in this span.
USC has been solid on defense all season, rating 25th in fewest points given up on a per-possession basis this season. UCLA has been significantly better on defense at home, giving up 11.8 points fewer per 100 possessions at Pauley Pavilion.
The Trojans’ forte is controlling the paint, as they rank third in the country in opponents’ 2-point shooting percentage and 11th in both rebound rate and blocks per game. The Mobley brothers control the boards for USC, with Evan grabbing 8.5 rebounds per game and Isaiah pulling in 7.7 per game.
UCLA is allowing opponents to rebound just 18.3 percent of their missed shots in home games, which ranks 20th in the country. USC rates 24th in fewest free throws allowed per field goal attempt and has allowed 73 points or fewer in 23 of its 25 games. Thus the total should land similarly to the February matchup: Under.
The play: USC-UCLA total, Under 134.5.