Pac-12 rivals Southern Cal and Stanford collide on the hardwood Sunday evening in a NCAA Basketball odds matchup between a couple of teams going nowhere fast.
Anytime the USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal get together, emotions run high. Whether it's on a gridiron, baseball diamond, tennis or basketball court, the longtime rivals are out for blood and bragging rights.
But the rivalry is about all that Sunday night's clash at Maples Pavilion has going for it as both teams enter the battle struggling to stop losing streaks. ESPNU will be on hand at The Farm in Stanford to broadcast the game beginning at 8:30 PM (ET), and SBR's live NCAA Basketball odds are currently listing the Cardinal at -14 after the spread started a half-point lower.
Scoreboard bettors are just now beginning to catch totals for the contest, with 142 the early mark.
Cardinal Take Aim At Season Sweep
Bragging rights for the series are indeed on the line in this one with the basketball programs knotted 123-123 all-time. Stanford has won the last three, including the first meeting this year a little less than a month ago down in Los Angeles, the Cardinal also winning two of the last three on their home floor.
The January 11 meeting at USC began with the Cardinal favored by six points and taking that advantage into the locker room with a 49-43 halftime lead. But the Trojans made it close in the second half, thanks in large part to Stanford scoring all of one point over the final 5½ minutes, to cover the spread in the eventual 76-76 final that shot well past a 132 point total.
The Trojans last tasted victory in this series on Valentine's Day 2013, upsetting the Cardinal and the NCAA Basketball odds with a 65-64 decision at Stanford. The last five contests played at Maples Pavilion each fell short of the totals.
Young Trojans Mired In 7-Game Skid
At a school where football and baseball are king, Andy Enfield's job at Southern California (9-13 straight up, 12-10 against the spread) is probably safe for now despite the poor showing so far, if only because basketball has never been big on campus. Now in his second season heading up the Trojans, Enfield is also up against it with a very young roster that includes 11 freshmen or sophomores among the 14 players.
It has been almost exactly a month since USC came out on top at the end of a game, the loss to Stanford beginning a 7-game losing streak to leave the Trojans in the Pac-12 basement with a 1-9 conference record. They are also at the bottom of the pack in shooting, connecting on just 40.8% of their field goal attempts in conference games, and 10th in the league in scoring (65.7 PPG).
Cardinal Fall Back In Race After Losing 2 Straight
Scoring has not been an issue for Stanford (15-7 SU, 11-10-1 ATS), either overall or in league tilts. Johnny Dawkins' clubs is 30th nationally averaging just over 75 points per game, that clip even higher in Pac-12 action where the Cardinal rank at the top of the conference putting up 77.7 PPG.
They have, however, been unable to stop the other guys with any consistency, the lack of defense a big part of the Card's current 2-game losing streak and 2-3 record the last five times out. Stanford is still sitting in decent position to make the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive campaign, but will need a good showing down the stretch on the regular season schedule plus the Pac-12 Tournament to secure an invite.
Giving up 14 seems a little high to back Stanford, yet not enough to get behind USC in its present state. Instead, I'm looking at the low side of the total for my free college basketball pick.
NCAA Basketball Pick: USC-Stanford Under at BetOnline
Season: 43-37-1 (+2.3)