The (#8) Arizona Wildcats (24-5) will take on the USC Trojans (21-8) in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The Wildcats look to get back on track after a heartbreaking loss at home to rival Arizona State at the buzzer. Arizona looked to have the win secured after DJ Horne missed a jumper with six seconds left, resulting in a Wildcats rebound. Still, big man Oumar Ballo made his second free throw with his team already up one, setting up the Sun Devils to get a last-second heave off as time expired. ASU’s Desmond Cambridge Jr. hit the half-court shot to give his team the much-needed win. Meanwhile, USC has a real chance to secure a spot in March Madness with a win over Arizona. They are currently on the right side of the bubble, but a win should be enough to make them feel comfortable.
Arizona vs. USC Betting Odds
Odds are courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook
Arizona vs. USC Match Details
Fixture: Arizona Wildcats at USC Trojans
Date and Time: Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 11:00 PM ET
Venue: Galen Center
ShotQuality Tale of the Tape
Below, we will highlight essential ShotQuality data for this matchup, including Adjusted Offensive and Defensive SQ, strengths, weaknesses, and frequency. SQppp is a player’s average ShotQuality points per possession.
Thus, SQppp = Total SQpoints/Total No. of Possessions.
The Arizona Wildcats have a 1.15 AdjOFF SQ this season, suitable for 22nd in the nation. USC has the 96th-best AdjDEF SQ at 0.98. Arizona does exceptionally well in all key stats except the open three rate metric, where they are 350th in the country. Conversely, the Trojans are 19th in the defensive open three rate metric. However, they are in the 60th percentile in defensive spacing, while UofA is in the 87th percentile in offensive spacing.
The Wildcats own high-frequency numbers in catch-and-shoot three-point, cut, off-the-dribble three-point, P&R ball screen, and transition shot types. They are in the top 140 in all those shot types except off-the-dribble three-pointers, with a 0.98 SQ PPP (278th in the country). Conversely, the Trojans are 27th in defending off-the-dribble three-pointers. They will also have an advantage in stopping shots in transition but will be at a massive disadvantage in the post and on catch-and-shoot three-pointers.
The Trojans have a 1.11 AdjOFF SQ, the 58th-best mark in the country. Arizona has posted a 0.94 AdjDEF SQ this season, clocking in at 27th in the country. The Trojans are in the top 100 in shot selection, shot making, and rim & three SQ PPP. The Wildcats are in the top 70 in those defensive categories, and like the USC defense, they will have the edge in the open three-rate metric.
USC is in the country’s top half in frequency regarding these shot types: cut, isolation, midrange, off-screen, P&R ball-screen, post-up, and transition. Moreover, UofA has defended those shot types excellently, while USC has excelled in taking them.
Arizona vs. USC Prediction
This contest is shaping up to be a quality game between two highly efficient teams. Neither team has a vast advantage analytically, but ShotQuality likes the under and the Wildcats with the points. I like the under considering both defenses are well-rounded in the vital defensive metrics. Additionally, neither team places high in the open three rate metric, giving me confirmation bias on playing the u154.5.