USC vs. Oregon College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Ducks Look To Bolster NCAA Tournament Resume (Saturday, February 26)
David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Will Richardson.
- Following its home victory over UCLA, Oregon hosts another L.A. team in USC on Saturday.
- Dana Altman's bunch is currently in fourth place in the Pac-12 standings while the Trojans have won five straight.
- Charlie DiSturco breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
USC vs. Oregon Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
In the biggest Pac-12 game of the weekend, Oregon looks to defend its home floor and sweep the season series against USC.
The Ducks enter fresh off an upset win in Eugene over UCLA and look to solidify their NCAA Tournament resume with yet another Top-25 win on Saturday night.
USC, on the other hand, has won five straight, recently narrowly beating Oregon State in double overtime. The Trojans are currently a game ahead of UCLA for second in the conference.
Can Oregon pull off back-to-back wins against Top-25 opponents at Matthew Knight Arena? Or will the Trojans get revenge after their double-digit home loss to the Ducks back in January?
USC has played with fire throughout Pac-12 play, yet finds itself in second place with just four losses.
In four of their last five conference wins, the Trojans have won by just two possessions. Not to mention they enter Saturday’s matchup fresh off a double-overtime win over the worst team in the Pac-12 (Oregon State).
Andy Enfield’s squad relies on its size — USC is the fourth-tallest team in NCAA — and defense inside the paint. The Trojans can throw a lineup with four players at 6-foot-9 or taller at any time and have the second-best 2-point defense.
While it is physical around the rim, USC doesn’t force many turnovers and is pretty mediocre defending the perimeter.
On the opposite end of the floor, the Trojans thrive on second-chance opportunities and attacking the rim. The engine of the offense is Isaiah Mobley, who is top 10 in offensive rating in conference games. The 6-foot-10 junior leads the team in both points (14.5) and assists (3.4) per game.
Though USC sits inside the top 100 in 3-point percentage, just 32 percent of all field-goal attempts come from beyond the arc. That’s 307th in the country, per Kenpom.
Its biggest weakness comes at the free-throw line. The Trojans shoot 66.5 percent as a team, 327th in the country, which often leaves the door open for late blown leads and is a reason behind many close games.
Against most able-bodied teams, free throws will be a concern, especially in March Madness. Think back to Alabama-UCLA, where the Tide went 11-of-25 from the line en route to an overtime loss. If this continues, the Trojans are a walking upset waiting to happen.
Oregon’s rollercoaster of a season was highlighted with a strong win against UCLA on Thursday night. A bubble team in Joe Lunardi’s most recent bracketology, a win against USC would all but sure up an at-large berth for the Ducks.
Like USC, the Ducks have struggled from the free-throw line. Outside of Will Richardson and De’Vion Harmon, no rotational player sits above 70 percent. This is an offense that normally relies on transition points and isolation offense to get the job done.
Richardson continues to be the star for Oregon in his senior season. In Pac-12 play, he ranks inside the top 10 in TS%, eFG%, steal rate and 3-point shooting. The Ducks heavily relied on him — and still often do — to create offense, but their transfers have slowly taken over and helped when Richardson struggles.
Take Thursday night’s win over UCLA for instance. Richardson finished the game with 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Normally, that’s a loss for Oregon. But Jacob Young and De’Vion Harmon have both had their moments of late and combined for 31 points in the win.
Oregon is a relatively mediocre shooting squad, but it’s athletic and attacks the paint with force. And when its guards struggle, N’Faly Dante is there to clean up the mess. He ranks third in conference play in offensive rebounding rate.
Defensively, the Ducks have had their struggles keeping opponents away from the offensive glass when Dante is off the floor. But despite giving up 15 offensive rebounds in the last matchup against USC, the Ducks were able to shut them down inside — forcing them to shoot from distance — en route to a 10-point road win.
Dana Altman’s squad has been inconsistent at times — think back to its two losses against Arizona State or the one against California — but this is a team that can compete with anyone down the stretch.
USC vs. Oregon Betting Pick
Despite where it sits in the standings, I actually think Oregon is a more well-rounded team than USC. There were early kinks that Dana Altman had to fix — they did bring over three transfers to make an immediate impact — and this Ducks team looks much better as March nears.
In the first game between these two, USC won the rebound battle yet Oregon was able to combat the Trojans size inside. Even though the Ducks’ strong suit isn’t 3-point shooting, they were left open often and took advantage, making 48 percent of 3s in that 10-point win.
To me, USC is playing with fire and is as due as any team — outside of Providence, maybe — for a loss. The Trojans have been barely eking by the bottom feeders of the Pac-12 and now draw a feisty Oregon team on its home floor.
While the Ducks may be safe inside the NCAA Tournament after the win over UCLA, I think they won’t show up “hungover” on Saturday night. Taking down the Trojans will all but solidify their at-large hopes.
Back Oregon to get the job done in Eugene and win its second straight game against a Top-25 opponent.
Pick: Oregon -2.5 (Play to -3)
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