USC Trojans 3pt Defense To Be Tested By Wazzu

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, December 31, 2017 4:18 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 4:18 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, is back for one last shot in 2017 to improve his 22-10 ATS record in his NCAAB article series. Here he has a late west coast Pac-12 game with a live dog for your consideration.

Free NCAAB Picks: Wazzu +14.5
Best Lines Available at 5Dimes

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I’m covering almost literally the last college basketball game of the year today, but before I do that I thought it would be some time for reflection. Non-conference NCAAB was very strong for me last year, which led to a +6.10-unit record at the same time last year. I’m sitting at +11.35 units at this point, so some improvement is locked into my results before this game has been played. The quick moral to the story being that I have found some useful new data sets, sage advice by other SBR contributors, and powerful suggestions by my followers on Twitter. Never go it alone and use all of the information at hand. I definitely hope that as we ring in the New Year that you keep reading and watching all of the informative content that us SBR contributors put together with passion.

On to the game. USC is coming off of a lackluster effort against the Washington Huskies as they did not cover their double-digit spread and also lost straight up 88-81. This result was prognosticated by David Malinsky in his SBR Point Blank column, as he saw a situation in which the USC fans wouldn’t show up and the players would be more interested in the result of the Cotton Bowl than their own game. While USC shot a blistering 64.3% from field goal range in that game and used their two big men to their advantage, they also shot 3-20 from 3pt range and lost the offensive rebound battle with long bounces. The defensive effort just wasn’t there for the Trojans – very surprising considering the lockdown defense they showed they could put up in Hawaii over last weekend. The Associated Press write-up got this nugget from the coach to confirm, ''Our defense was just terrible, we allowed them to score against our zone in the first half, so we switched to man-to-man in the second half, and our man defense was worse.”

The Cougars come into this game after getting run out of the gym by the UCLA Bruins in their last game 96-82. Washington State was hanging around and within the number to cover for most of the game, but a 33-18 foul shot advantage by the home team proved too much in the end. That game broke a four-game Under streak for Washington State, who forces teams into plodding offense almost as good as anyone in the country. Another item in the box score of that game was the amount of 3-pointers that WSU put up – 35. Washington State is #1 in the country in three’s as a contribution to their scoring.

USC happens to be ranked 235th in the country in defending behind the arc. That has me believing that Washington State could hang around in this game, and unlike UCLA, the USC Trojans do not attack to draw fouls – at least not on paper. Don’t forget there may not be much of a home crowd during Christmas break either. I’ll take Washington State to cover +14 here as my last 2017 NCAAB pick.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 22-10, +11.35Units

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