The Trojans remain undefeated and if they keep beating up on the competition, there's a spot waiting for them in the AP Top 25. In their way tonight is a West Coast battle in which they face the Waves squad. Can USC seal the deal while covering the betting spread at the same time?
From the way that the Pepperdine Waves have played, they certainly look like they would rather "hang ten" and go surfing as this matchup appears to be a "wipe out" in favor of USC. After starting off the season strongly, Pepperdine has lost 4 consecutive games and their defense has really let them down, allowing 85 points per game during their losing streak and that's been the key reason for their lack of success.
The Waves will have the unenviable task of facing a Trojans team that can control the boards and play both ends of the court as the Trojans are averaging a hefty 81 points per contest.
This has been a breakout season for junior, Elijah Stewart. Stewart leads the Trojans in scoring at 16 points per game and Stewart can also rebound the basketball well for a 6 foot 5-inch guard. He's averaging 6 rebounds per game. Look for Elijah Stewart to lead the way for the Trojans offensively as forward Chimezie Metu protects the glass and provides a complimentary offensive punch, converting timely buckets. Metu has really picked up his level of play as of late.In his last 3 games, he's averaging 15.3 points, 8 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game. Pepperdine will have to be at their best just to be competitive in this ball game.
A Chip off the Old Block
Pepperdine could have one definitive answer for the Trojans in the form of senior Lamond Murray Jr. Just like his famous father, Murray Jr. has never met a shot that he hasn't liked and USC must key in on him defensively as he's a player that can take a game over.
For the season, Murray Jr. is averaging 22 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. Add in the presence of senior Chris Reyes (15.2 points, 7.9 rebounds) and the Waves could create issues for USC if the Trojans aren't at their best. Remember, the Trojans schedule has been very favorable. I'm going to take the points with Pepperdine for my NCAA basketball pick and side with senior leadership.