College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: USC vs. Colorado (Thursday, Jan. 20)

College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: USC vs. Colorado (Thursday, Jan. 20) article feature image

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Mobley.

  • The USC Trojans are slight road favorite against Colorado on Thursday night.
  • USC has struggled after a hot start to the season, but Colorado has yet to beat a quality opponent this season.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.

USC vs. Colorado Odds

Thursday, Jan. 20
7:30 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
USC Odds
-110o / -110u
Colorado Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It was once smooth sailing for USC, which opened the season winning its first 13 games by an average of 15 points per game. But the ship has now hit rocky waters over the last three games, with losses to Stanford and Oregon followed by a 10-point win over Oregon State in which is had to rally as a 15-point favorite after trailing at halftime

This is the time to straighten this ship as the program travels to Colorado, which has yet to post an impressive victory to its resume. The Buffaloes are 12-4 with all 12 victories coming against teams that rank outside the top-50, according to KenPom.

They’ve faced three opponents that rank in the top-50 in UCLA, Tennessee and Arizona and lost all three of those matchups by an average of 15 points.

Colorado was lucky to sneak past some of the cake walk opponents this season, needing overtime to defeat Montana State and Duquesne. The group lost to Southern Illinois and beat Brown and Eastern Washington by just one possession each.

USC may be on a bit of a downward trajectory, but the Trojans they being undervalued against an unproven Colorado program?

USC Looks to Get Back on Track

USC dropped 11 spots in the AP Top 25 after its recent struggles. Much of that can be attributed to the Trojans playing three games in a five-day span after returning from a 19-day layoff due to COVID issues.

The defense has been another sour spot for the program since returning from the pause. The Trojans held every opponent to below 40% shooting from the field in the first dozen games. In the four games back, each opponent has surpassed that mark. The Trojans will now match up against a Colorado offense that has struggled hitting shots this season and will have a good opportunity to get back to its defensive roots.

Offensively, USC has four players averaging double-digit points and the group is led by Isaiah Mobley. The 6-foot-10 forward is putting up 15 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest while hitting 44% from behind the arc. Chevez Goodwin, a 6-foot-9 senior, is averaging 13 points to go along with 7 rebounds.

USC is the third-tallest program in the country and can exhibit four players standing 6-foot-7 or taller on the floor at any given time. That size has led the Trojans to a top-30 offensive efficiency ranking and the second-best offensive rebounding mark in the Pac-12. It’s also the reason that the Trojans defend inside the perimeter so well, holding the fifth-best 2-point defense in the nation.

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Colorado Plays With Balance

Colorado is coming off an 18-point home victory over Arizona State. But that was the Sun Devils' second game in 27-days and rust was clearly a major factor as they shot just 33% from the field.

The Buffaloes own a well-balanced offense with six players averaging seven points or more. Jabari Walker is the leading scorer with 13 points per game, but he’s only hit 23% of his 3-point attempts. He’s scored double-digits in 14 of his 16 games this season, but was shut down by Arizona and held to four points.

Colorado has hit just 32% from 3-point territory (237th) and 50% inside the perimeter, which ranks 151st nationally. The offense has averaged 71 points per contest and that comes against a relatively easy schedule. In the games against top-25 opponents, the Buffaloes have averaged a measly 56 points per game.

The Buffaloes have been mediocre defensively, owning the 67th defensive efficiency ranking. In their six conference games, they have allowed 35% from 3-point range, which ranks 10th in the Pac-12.

An important factor will be how they defend inside the arc, as that’s where 59% of the USC points come from. On the season, they have allowed teams to hit 47% from that range. But the group allowed Arizona, Tennessee and UCLA to hit 75-of-116 2-points attempts, good for a staggering 65%.

USC vs. Colorado Betting Pick

Colorado has beaten up on bad teams this year and been exposed by good competition. The Buffaloes allowed a staggering 65% on 2-point attempts in their three matchups against top-25 competition. That’s a major issue as USC thrives at scoring in the paint with its size advantage.

USC dominates the paint defensively, owning the fifth-best 2-point defense. Colorado only takes 31% of its field goal attempts from behind the arc and hit at a 32% clip. It’s safe to say that Colorado will struggle to find buckets in this matchup.

USC is primed for a big bounce-back spot and has had five days off to prepare after its recent struggles. Colorado has owned this matchup at home in the last four years, but its time that the Trojans get over the hump.

Pick: USC -1.5 (Play down to -3)

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