Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 33-26-2 (+5.65 units)
Sunday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Free NCAAB Pick: Southern Cal ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Not only is there no Pac-12 team in the latest AP rankings, Arizona State is the only one to even get a looksee by the 64 sportswriters, and that was as the No. 25 team on the lone ballot.
It is indeed a down year for the conference, and the Oregon Ducks are in an early must-win battle on Sunday night when the USC Trojans come to Eugene. ESPNU provides the coverage from Matthew Knight Arena, and a quick check of SBR’s top-rated sports books indicates the Ducks will avoid their first 0-3 start in league play since 2010-11.
Both Sides Coming Off OT Letdowns
Andy Enfield brings his team north just a game out of the Pac-12 lead where Arizona and UCLA sat entering the weekend. After winning their first two conference games at home against Stanford and Cal, the Trojans took their first league loss Thursday night to Oregon State in overtime at Corvallis. Southern Cal closed as a 2½-point underdog and were ahead late in regulation before the Beavers tied it up and ultimately won it. Bennie Boatright scored a career-high 37, half of the Trojans’ 74 points in the contests, and the senior leads four USC players averaging 10+ a game with a 17.4 scoring clip.
The loss of Bol Bol in mid-December is firmly behind Oregon’s 3-3 record – 2-4 vs. the NCAA basketball odds – since. The 7-foot freshman was averaging 21 PPG, nearly 10 boards and close to three blocks when he went out, and his ability to step outside to hit a long jumper has made the Ducks so much easier to defend without him on the floor. Most of his minutes have gone to fellow freshman Louis King who has consecutive double-doubles in the two Pac-12 losses. The Ducks are also coming off a tough overtime loss Thursday against UCLA, blowing a 17-point lead with six minutes left in regulation, and 4-point lead in the final two minutes of extra play.
Road Team 7-3 ATS Last 10 Collisions
Southern Cal swept three from the Ducks a season ago, the regular season matchups playing out close before the Trojans busted loose with a 74-54 rout in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. It was the first time USC won three games from Oregon in the same season, and prior to that, the Ducks had won 14-straight in the rivalry. The regular season clash in Eugene closed with the Ducks favored by 3½ and the Trojans leaving town with the 75-70 triumph, their first win at Oregon since January 2009. The ‘under’ has cashed four of the last five lined matchups.
Not sure the Trojans can pull off the outright upset, but I am feeling confident enough in taking them and the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.