USC vs Oregon Odds, Picks: Dante to Dominate for Ducks?

USC vs Oregon Odds, Picks: Dante to Dominate for Ducks? article feature image

Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images. Pictured: N’Faly Dante (Oregon)

USC vs. Oregon Odds

Thursday, Feb. 9
11 p.m. ET
USC Odds
-115o / -105u
Oregon Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Looking to continue to pile up important resume-building wins prior to the NCAA tournament, Oregon returns to Eugene and welcomes in the red-hot USC Trojans.

Oregon was won three of its last four and picked up a Quadrant I victory on Saturday, taking down Arizona State on the road.

USC, meanwhile, enters on a four-game win streak that includes a 13-point win over UCLA. The Trojans hit the road for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Can Dana Altman's squad defend its home floor and pick up a much-needed victory against USC inside Matthew Knight Arena, or will the Trojans continue their torrid pace as they climb the Pac-12 standings?

USC Trojans

Few teams in the Pac-12 have been as hot as USC over the last month. The Trojans have won six of seven — their lone loss to Arizona — and enter as the No. 1 offense from an efficiency perspective during conference play.

Slowing down the Trojans is key. Unlike in years past, Andy Enfield's team loves to push the pace in transition. USC is efficient at attacking the rim, but primarily it operates in the mid-range or out of the post.

USC relies heavily on the playmaking of seniors Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson. Both are having career years, averaging a combined 30.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. 

Despite their efficiencies, the Trojans' offense is about average in eFG% (141st) and sits just inside the top 100 in 2-point offense. They rank outside the top 200 in turnover rate, too.

How USC will fare with its lack of depth is the biggest question mark on Thursday night.

Enfield's squad is just 332nd in bench minutes and just six players average more than 13 minutes per game. The Trojans will likely be shorthanded against Oregon, too, after Joshua Morgan suffered a foot injury against Washington State.

He missed last game for the Trojans — a six-point win over Washington — and is the starting center. He averages 7.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Largely a deterrent from the rim, USC's interior defense definitely lacks without the 6-foot-11 junior.

Replacing Morgan in the starting lineup is 7-foot-1 freshman Vincent Iwuchukwu. He has foul issues at times, but carries an impressive 8.5 block rate.

The Trojans enter as the No. 1 defense against 2s and like their division foe Oregon, there's no shortage of length. Only one rotational player comes in below 6-foot-3.

I'd also be remiss not to mention that with their 2-point defense success, ShotQuality projects negative regression for the Trojans. On finishes at the rim, opponents shoot just 48%, as opposed to ShotQuality's 58% projection.

USC's matchup zone — while strong on the interior — allows for second-chance opportunities at a high rate. Enfield's squad is just 334th in defensive rebounding.

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Oregon Ducks

Oregon is finally hitting its stride. After a disappointing start to the season — thanks to losses to UC Irvine and Utah Valley in non-conference play — the Ducks have shot up the Pac-12 standings.

They have won five of their last seven and return home for a huge date with USC.

If there's one word to summarize Altman's squad, it's length. This is a rotation that has just one player under 6-foot-4 and has three big men at 6-foot-11 or taller.

Will Richardson and N'Faly Dante both returned for their senior seasons and are vital pieces of the offense.

While Richardson's shooting numbers have dipped, he remains a steady scorer (14.0 PPG) and the primary facilitator of an offense that ranks 37th in adjusted efficiency.

Dante encapsulates the Ducks' biggest strength: physicality around the rim. In just 24.9 minutes per game, he averages 13.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Oregon is 36th in 2-point offense.

This offense does have its flaws, too. For a 3-point happy team, the Ducks rank outside the top 300 (31.2%). They struggle at the free-throw line and can have issues in the turnover department.

Oregon prefers to attack the rim, either through isolation or the pick-and-roll. That allows for the ball hander to either kick it out to the perimeter or attack the glass. The efficiency just hasn't followed from 3.

As expected, being the fourth-tallest team in the country has its perks on the defensive end. The on-ball pressure and length on the perimeter leads to low-quality 3s.

Opponents are shooting 33.6% from the perimeter against the Ducks, which ranks about league average. Despite allowing low-quality looks, it's the quantity of 3s that can burn Oregon from time to time.

This roster is best-equipped to defend the interior, where it ranks inside the top 50 in 2-point defense. Oregon takes less chances on the defensive end, which leads to low turnovers but also little-to-no fouling.

It's a well-balanced squad and Altman has a deep rotation if he so chooses.

From a ShotQuality perspective, the Ducks have found their stride in conference play. They're top-three in the entire conference in SQ PPP defending finishes at the rim, the pick-and-roll, the perimeter and in the mid-range.

USC vs. Oregon Betting Pick

When looking at this matchup — and betting in general — you want to find the best spots. This is a perfect time to sell USC's red-hot streak, since it's likely reached top of market.

The Trojans have been great — there's no denying that. But they rely too heavily on two playmakers and their defense takes a significant hit without Morgan on the floor.

ShotQuality already projects negative regression on the horizon for the USC interior defense, and that's exactly where Oregon loves to operate. The Ducks will consistently feed and attack the rim, use their physicality on the glass and open opportunities for shooters.

Returning to their home floor, I expect the Ducks to be ready.

While they do struggle from the perimeter, USC's catch-and-shoot defense ranks 287th. Out of the post? 338th. Even the Trojans' finishing at the rim — from a SQ PPP perspective — is 213th.

This is a perfect Altman rah rah spot to get Oregon up and ready for a division rival in a must-win spot. The Ducks are just 14-10, but are trending upwards.

Finishing the season strong is important and with Dante dominating the way he does in the paint, I expect his presence and matchup advantage to prove the difference in an Oregon win. 

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