Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans Preview
Where: Galen Center – Los Angeles, California
When: Thursday, January 5, 2016, 11:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: Pac-12 Network
Writer’s Pick: USC Trojans (-9)
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Betting on the Stanford Cardinal (+9)
It’s been a trying debut season for Stanford’s first-year head coach Jerod Haase. The Cardinal have started 8-6 under his watch, although they have played the 9th toughest schedule in the country to date. They have started Pac-12 play with back-to-back losses. They dropped a close game against a similarly poor Arizona State team 98-93 at home, and most recently got walloped 91-52 by the Arizona Wildcats.
Stanford’s currently one of the lowest-scoring Power 5 teams in the country, averaging 69.1 points per game (278th overall). They have just two players averaging over double-figures in Reid Travis (17.5 PPG) and Dorian Pickens (13.2 PPG).
Their defense has been the much better part of their game. They’re giving up 69.2 points per game (122nd) and are 75th in terms of defensive efficiency per KenPom.com. However, they’ve given up over 90 points in their first two conference games, and could have another tough time keeping a very good USC offense below 90 points.
Stanford does have a good record against USC, though. The Cardinal are 5-0 in their last five meetings against the Trojans. Travis missed last season’s meeting, but Pickens starred with 25 points off the bench to lead the Cardinal to a big 84-64 win at home.
Stanford is just 2-8 against the spread in its last 10 games, and has failed to cover in its last four games.
Betting on the USC Trojans (-9)
USC’s undefeated start to the season finally came to a screeching halt as the Trojans were throttled 84-61 by Oregon in Eugene. The Trojans (14-1, 1-1 Pac-12) were held to just 31 percent shooting and turned the ball over 17 times as they were held to their lowest scoring output of the season.
Overall, though, Andy Enfield’s team has been one of the better offenses in the country. They’re averaging 80.9 points per game (47th in the nation) and are 39th in offensive efficiency per KenPom.com. The Trojans have a lot of balance, with six players averaging close to 10 points per game.
Look for bounce-back games from Jordan McLaughlin (14.1 PPG) and Chimezie Metu (12.9 PPG). The two are shooting over 50 percent from the field on the season, but were limited to a combined 2-of-18 shooting from the field by the Ducks. Metu starred in the Trojans’ Pac-12 opener against Oregon State as he had a team-high 19 points with 8 rebounds.
USC is a perfect 8-0 at home this season. However, the Trojans are 4-3 against the spread in those games, and have failed to cover their last two at home.
USC (-9) gets back on track with a double-digit win over Stanford.
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