College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for Oregon vs. USC: Will Ducks Come Out Flat in Pac-12 Clash? (Saturday, Jan. 15)
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah White (USC)
- Pac-12 After Dark rolls on at 11 p.m. ET when the Oregon Ducks take on the USC Trojans.
- The Trojans were one of the last remaining undefeated teams in the country but suffered a loss to Stanford on Tuesday.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down this game and shares his top betting pick below.
Oregon vs. USC Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Most of the Pac-12 will get one daunting doubleheader weekend this year — the Thursday and Saturday road matchups at both UCLA and USC. Those two are two of the three best teams in an improved conference this year.
This weekend is Oregon and Oregon State’s turn. The Ducks notched an impressive road victory on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion, upsetting UCLA 84-81 in overtime after surviving a blown six-point lead in the final minute of regulation.
The question becomes whether the Ducks can replicate that performance in a prime letdown spot — two days after a grueling overtime win — against another elite team in USC.
The Trojans had a win against Oregon State, but it was far from comfortable. USC trailed by 10 in the second half and outscored the Beavers 44-29 in the final 20 minutes to win by 10, 81-71.
Considering the Trojans lost the game prior at Stanford, it was far from an ideal bounce-back performance.
Oregon made just 6-of-19 from 3 in its win against UCLA, so the upset on the road didn’t even require the Ducks to run unsustainably hot from beyond the arc.
The Ducks also overcame a five-point halftime deficit and rode a season-high 23 points from transfer guard Jacob Young. Young has been electric the last three games for Oregon, and is really carrying an offense that — at times — has lacked a true go-to scorer this season.
N’Faly Dante adds a lot in terms of rebounds and Will Richardson is still one of the best distributors in the entire country, but Quincy Guerrier has struggled to take a step forward since transferring in from Syracuse.
The result has been an inconsistent offense that’s prone to large stretches without points, and an up-and-down defense that has seemed to switch off at times.
Like Bart Torvik and KenPom, ShotQuality grades out the Ducks as a defense that is outside of the top 100. The losses of Chris Duarte and LJ Figueroa have hurt them considerably defensively.
While you’d expect a coach like Dana Altman to improve his team considerably, this is a unit that nearly lost to Oregon State and struggled vs. Pepperdine at home in the last two weeks.
I’m going to need more than one game as a huge underdog against a generally overvalued UCLA squad before I believe that Oregon is truly turning the corner.
If anything, the Ducks caught UCLA on a bad shooting night (25% from 3), and could easily get exposed for their inconsistent defense in this one.
I’m lower on USC than the market generally, but if you can’t shoot on the Trojans, good luck producing consistent offense against this elite interior defense.
The most impressive wins for the Trojans this season have come against teams with inconsistent perimeter shooting — a 58-43 win against San Diego State and a 63-61 road victory at Washington State.
The Trojans’ lone loss came on the road against Stanford, which made 10-of-24 from 3 and didn’t need to challenge the interior defense nearly as much. Evan Mobley may be gone, but the three-man frontcourt of Isaiah Mobley, Drew Peterson and Max Agbonkpolo alter a lot of shots and defend without fouling.
I’m more skeptical of the consistency of the Trojans’ offense. The Trojans do a good job of protecting the ball, but they don’t offer a ton of volume distance shooting and often rely on interior scoring.
That could be an issue in the tournament and against better competition, but the Ducks’ interior defense shouldn’t be able to handle the multiple options USC has in the paint.
USC ranks just 58th in offensive ShotQuality because the Trojans can become a bit reliant on inefficient mid-range shots and don’t have a high rate of rim and 3-point shots.
Oregon vs. USC Betting Pick
Oregon is in a brutal flat spot following its huge road win, and the spread looks a bit short relative to what it would have been had the Ducks not pulled off that upset.
Even though USC hasn’t been playing its best basketball the last few games, its interior defense should give Oregon fits. The Ducks have a tendency to settle for bad shots offensively when things aren’t going well.
The Ducks can take advantage of teams who are less athletic than they are by dominating the glass and spacing the floor. However, USC isn’t an ideal matchup for them.
USC has more length in the frontcourt than any team in the country and its defense allows the third-lowest 2-point field goal percentage in the nation. This could be a long night for the occasionally dysfunctional Ducks offense to keep pace with the Trojans on the road.
This is a classic Pac-12 spot, and teams coming off a big emotional win on Thursday so often come out flat in their second game in three days. I’m expecting the same from an up-and-down Oregon team, so I would play USC to -7.
Pick: USC -6.5 (-7 or better)