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The Fearsome Threesome, Episode 12: USC vs UCLA, That’s All You Need To Know

Yeah, it’s rivalry time once again

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

College Basketball is at its best when both teams just downright hate each other. No. 6 UCLA hosts bitter rival USC in the Pauley Pavilion Saturday in a game with major Pac-12 standings implications.

UCLA currently sits at third behind Oregon and Arizona with three conference losses. In their first meeting, USC upset the Bruins and gave them their second straight loss. Both teams need to win this game to keep pace with the leaders. UCLA cannot afford another loss in conference with Oregon and Arizona only have two and one losses respectively. UCLA has found their rhythm again after their rough patch against conference opponents, they’ve played their best game of the season against Oregon where their defense showed major improvements and their offense did just enough to give them a major victory. However, none of that matters now because anything can happen in a rivalry game.

UCLA’s offense has obviously been the talk of college basketball. Rightfully so because the team is packed full of offensive fire power with the likes of TJ Leaf, Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford. Most teams don’t have the offense to keep up with the Bruins but USC showed last game their defense is plenty good enough to stop the Bruins. The Trojans held UCLA to their second lowest scoring output of the season in the 84-76 loss just a few weeks ago. USC took advantage of UCLA turnovers and scored 18 points off of these turnovers. The points off turnovers and a combination of 30 bench points handed the Bruins their second defeat of the season.

However, both teams have changed from their first meeting. UCLA seemingly has found a defensive set that can hold teams to under 80 points a game. This is a recipe for success for UCLA due to their world class offense. The Bruins have only scored under 80 points four times this season. Oddly enough, Oregon State has held UCLA to under 80 twice this year.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, who’s going to win? Well, UCLA has been on an absolute tear as of late. They’ve put together a four-game winning streak and they’ve played their best basketball of the season. USC is coming off a loss to Oregon and has a week to prepare for the Bruins. But, I believe that UCLA will come away with a big victory at home by a score of, 86-75.