USC Trojans vs Utah Utes - NCAA Basketball Picks Of The Day

Utah Utes player in action

Thursday, January 12, 2017 6:15 PM GMT

The USC Trojans luck has come to an end as they're finally facing tougher opponents as inter-conference play has come into play for the Trojans and they've come out on the short end of the stick. Tonight doesn't get much easier for USC as they're on the road and face a Utah Utes squad which possesses a tough defense.

#25 USC Trojans (15-2) vs Utah Utes (11-4)

Overrated

Even though USC was undefeated for most of the season, it took them a long time to crack the AP Top 25. Now, it appears that despite this game, they'll drop out of the rankings as they've lost 2 out of their last 3 games.

USC was defeated quite easily by #21 Oregon and most recently, lost a heartbreaker to Ivan Rabb and the California Golden Bears, 74-73,. This was also a game in which we predicted that Cal and Rabb would overtake the Trojans. Now, the Trojans must find a way to "rebound", no pun intended as they look to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and the way to do that is with quality victories.

One consistent source of offense for the Trojans is junior guard Jordan McLaughlin as McLaughlin has started to be more aggressive and it's paid off in his last 2 games. In his last 2 games, he's averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 assists. This including a 20 point, 5 rebound effort in the 1 point loss to California. McLaughlin connecting on 3 of 5 3-pointers, but in the end, it wasn't enough and a very tough loss for the Trojans.

Chimezie Metu

This could be a low-scoring affair due to the ferocious Utah defense and USC will counter with 6 foot 11, 225 pound Chimezie Metu. He has improved greatly in his sophomore season, averaging 13.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Metu is coming off a 20 point effort against Cal in which he looked for his offense more as opposed to the two previous games against Stanford and Oregon in which Metu registered double-figure rebounds. USC need's a well-rounded game from Chimezie Metu as his play will be a deciding factor in the outcome of this game.

As for Utah, this is a team that's had a much tougher schedule than USC prior to inter-conference play with matchups against Xavier and Butler. The Utes were defeated in both games, but were very competitive.

Forward, Kyle Kuzma is coming off a monster 26 point, 12 rebound game against Arizona and I look for him along with Utah's leading scorer, David Collette (15.4 points, 6 rebounds) to lead the way as Utah is catching USC at an opportune time. Strength of schedule has really caught up to the Trojans and it will continue to do so in this game.

 

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Utes -6

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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