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Oregon vs. USC: NCAA Basketball Picks and Predictions

Oregon vs. USC: NCAA Basketball Picks and Predictions
Ethan Anderson #20 of the USC Trojans against the Oregon Ducks. Photo by Steve DYKES / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

The USC Trojans are favored on Monday, but the Oregon Ducks have been on a tear through the Pac-12. What is the best pick for this matchup, and what is the best sportsbook to use?

Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans

Monday, February 22, 2021 – 9:00 PM EST at Galen Center

USC has hopes of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, and that hope is warranted. They are competing for a Pac-12 title and have some nice wins on the resume. However, they have to continue to succeed. Their next test comes against Oregon Ducks, a team on a five-game winning streak.

Both offenses are potent. They each average over 74 points a game and average over 46% from the field. They are great at distributing the ball and have what it takes to win this game. With so much on the line, this will be a fun game to watch.

The NCAAB odds are favoring USC by 3.5 points, but this game could truly go either way. With high-powered offenses, anything could happen on Monday. Here are the keys for each team to win this matchup, along with a prediction.

Keys for USC to Cover the Spread

It’s not surprising that USC is the best in the Pac-12 at many things on offense. They are great at crashing boards and getting second-chance points. They average 6 more free throws per game in conference play, and they shoot more shots than anyone. However, what really sets them apart is their solid defense. USC has a great interior defense, and they are a solid defensive rebounding team. They don’t foul often, and they only allow 64.9 points per game in conference play.

If they can dictate the pace in this game, they will do well. They do so many things at a high clip that they can win in a variety of ways. The problem comes when they have to adapt from what they do well. They have a few weaknesses that can hurt them significantly. They are bad at perimeter shooting, and their free-throw shooting is weak when you consider how often they get to the line. Some of that is because their bigs get fouled, but they need everyone to improve from the line.

These things usually go better at home, so the Trojans do have that going for them. However, there is a recipe for how to beat this team.

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Keys for Oregon to Pull off the Upset

The Oregon Ducks have so much working against them, but there is a path to victory. It starts on defense. The Ducks have to pack the paint and force outside shooting. Whether they play in man or in zone, they have to double the paint and force the ball back out. USC is a bad perimeter shooting team. That doesn’t mean that you give them open looks from the arc, but you at least need to give them more outside looks than inside looks.

Oregon is good at forcing turnovers, and that will be key in this game. Offensively, they need to get hot from the perimeter. That’s how the Ducks have succeeded in recent weeks, but it will be harder to do against the Trojans.

With Oregon playing on the road, they have to keep their composure. They have a solid defense, but things can get out of hand in a hurry. If their shots aren’t falling, they need to stay composed and bounce back in this game. It will be hard to beat the Trojans, but it is in the cards if the Ducks can handle these simple things.

What’s the Best Pick?

Oregon has momentum, but that stops here. The Trojans will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss to Arizona, and they have what it takes to win this game.

Still, Oregon matches up well against USC. They have quality shooting and great interior defense. The main concern is if Oregon gets into foul trouble and has to change their style of play.

This game could truly go either way. Both teams have what it takes to win. That being said, the Trojans can win in a wider variety of ways, and many of those ways will lead to blowouts. It will be tough, but with my college basketball picks, I have USC covering the spread at home. The spread suggests that these teams are even, and that is not the case.

NCAAB Pick: USC -3.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

USC -3.5(-108)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.