NCAA Basketball Picks: Back Oregon St. To Continue Home Dominance Of USC

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, January 23, 2016 5:42 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 5:42 PM UTC

It took USC years to get back into the Top 25, but their stay will be short if they lose at Oregon St. today. Who will be a part of our NCAA basketball picks for this game?

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Oregon State +2
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


USC Needs Win To Stay In Polls
Coach Andy Enfield has done a great job rebuilding the USC program. He was hired after leading little Florida Gulf Coast University to a surprising run in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Trojans were 11-21 in Enfield's first season and 12-20 last year, including just 3-15 in the Pac-12. But you could see signs this team was coming with a ton of good young players.

On Monday, USC (15-4, 4-2) entered the Associated Press Top 25 at No. 21. It was the first time USC had been ranked since November 2008 when the Trojans had future NBA players DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic) on the roster. USC got ranked on the strength of a three-game winning streak entering this week, including a very impressive 103-101 four-overtime win against then-No. 7 Arizona and an 89-75 win at UCLA last Wednesday to end a six-game losing streak in that series.

However, this week didn't start well as the Trojans were beaten 89-81 Thursday at Oregon, although to be fair the Ducks are an excellent team at home and have yet to lose there this season. USC was the Pac-12's top 3-point shooting team but was just 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) from long range. A 13-1 Ducks run midway through the second half was the difference. Freshman Bennie Boatright led USC with career highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds. But Jordan McLaughlin, who averages 12.9 points, was held to only three points, a season low. It was USC's 11th straight loss in the series.

“We didn't play our best game,” Enfield told the L.A. Times. “We missed a lot of open shots from the 3-point line.”

USC is 13-5-1 against the spread on NCAA basketball odds.


Beavers Look To End Skid
Oregon State (11-6, 2-4) is trending the wrong way as the Beavers have lost three straight. OSU was beaten 82-73 at home by UCLA on Wednesday. To shake things up for the UCLA game, Coach Wayne Tinkle gave his son Tres, a freshman forward, his first career start. And he played well with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Beavers lacked energy in the first half and trailed 40-32 at intermission. OSU never threatened after getting within 46-43 with 15:17 left. UCLA would lead again by as many as 18. The Beavers were an embarrassing 12-for-24 from the free-throw line. Oregon State played without forward Jarmal Reid, who served the first of a four-game suspension (at least) for intentionally tripping a referee in last Sunday's loss to Utah. You've no doubt seen video of that by now. Reid plays 15.7 minutes a night off the bench and averages 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds.

The Beavers have one of the best players in the country with a famous name: Gary Payton II. He had 17 points and seven assists in the UCLA loss but had to sit for about 10 minutes in the first half after getting two fouls. UCLA went on an 18-7 run with him on the bench. The son of the former Oregon State and NBA legend is averaging 19.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists over his last five games. Payton II is probably the best all-around player in the Pac-12 but likely won't win conference player of the year honors because OSU isn't very good. He'll be a first-round pick in the 2016 draft.

OSU is 9-3 at home this season, which is one more loss than the Beavers had all of last year at Gill Coliseum. Oregon State has defeated USC six consecutive times there. The Beavers are 8-8 ATS on NCAA basketball picks this season.


Last Season
USC and OSU split the 2014-15 series, with both teams winning at home. The game in Corvallis was a 59-55 Beavers win. Payton III had 21 points and 10 rebounds. USC was down 58-55 with a potential chance to tie, but Payton stole a pass with eight seconds left. He was fouled and hit one of two free throws for the final score. The game featured 12 lead changes. USC leads in the all-time series 67-62, which includes two wins vacated by the Trojans from 2008 for NCAA violations.

Oregon State makes it seven straight wins at home in the series and we are backing them with our Sunday's college basketball picks. USC is 2-5 ATS in its past seven road games vs. teams with a winning home record. OSU is 5-2 ATS in its past seven at home. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. 

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