USC's Size Will Overwhelm Vanderbilt

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, November 19, 2017 1:13 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 1:13 PM UTC

NCAAB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, believes the game plan is clear when the USC Trojans face the Vanderbilt Commodores on Sunday night. Read on as he breaks down the game and gives a pick on the side and the total.


Free NCAAB Picks: USC -2.5 & UNDER
Best Odds Available at the Greek

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The 10th ranked USC Trojans get their first road experience of the season on Sunday evening, as they travel to Nashville to face the Vanderbilt Commodores. Vanderbilt will have less rest than USC for this game, after playing at home against UNC-Asheville in a tight 79-76 win on Friday night. That was likely more energy than they wanted to expend after losing to Belmont the game before, as they were upset 60-69 on the same night that USC was surprisingly pushed by North Dakota State in a 75-65 win that was closer than expected.

USC is lead by the 6’ 10” Bennie Boatwright who is averaging 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game to start the young season. After Boatwright, the Trojans have another big man as a scoring threat in 6’ 11” Chimezie Metu, who has averaged 16.0 points an 8.5 rebounds per game. These two should be used heavily against Vanderbilt, who’s tallest player is 6’ 7” in their starting five. That size should also lead to turnovers, which is one of my favorite metrics to focus on when handicapping non-conference NCAAB games.

In Vanderbilt’s 69-60 loss to Belmont as a 4-point favorite, the Bruins used their size advantage to outscore the Commodores 32-20 inside the paint. Vandy’s game is to shoot from deep, and when they went just 4-23 (17.4%) from outside the arc they shot themselves out of the game. The 3-ball will have to be their tactic on Sunday against USC as well with their frontcourt outsized by USC by 4 inches or more in each spot. Not good when you are ranked 260th in 3-pt% in the country at 29.9%.

The opening line has the USC Trojans favored by just 2 points in their first road game. With my non-conference preference of valuing height and length I do like the value presented on backing them. They should be able to generate turnovers, Vanderbilt fouls, and easy transition buckets. Vanderbilt’s name recognition has earned them 2 ATS losses to start the season, and this will be a third.

Another interesting line on this game is the total, which sits at 145 as I write this on Saturday night. With Vanderbilt struggling mightily on offense against a Belmont team with a larger frontcourt, I don’t see that changing here. The USC lineup should give them fits, and likewise, the Trojans will be deliberate on offense in trying to get their big-men the ball. All of that says the game’s tempo will be slower to me, regardless of Vanderbilt’s tendency to put up 3’s. The Under of 145 is also a play with the Trojans as -2 for my Sunday NCAAB Picks.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 4-1, +2.95 Units

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