NCAAM Pick November 28, 2020 – Montana Grizzlies at USC Trojans

Our red-hot undefeated start to the college hoops season continued last night, as we picked up yet another winner, this time by backing the Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffaloes were tasked with being road favorites, in Manhattan, against the Kansas State Wildcats. While I don’t like to make a habit of laying wood in true road games, the public was all over K-State, moving the line several points, which opened up a ton of value on Colorado.

I just felt that the Wildcats were going to be undermanned and outgunned against a sneaky good Colorado team. K-State only returned four scholarship players from last year’s team that was dreadfully bad, and they seem destined for a last-place finish in the Big 12 this year. So, I did what I love to do, and faded the public and backed Colorado, and expected them to win easily in hostile territory.

And that is exactly what happened. The Wildcats did a serviceable job of hanging with Colorado in the first half, but once their starters got tired, the Buffaloes used their depth to run away from Bruce Webber’s team. Colorado dominated the second half, eventually stretching the lead out to as many as 18-points. As expected, the Wildcats just didn’t have the bodies to play with a Buffaloes team that should be dancing in March, and we coasted to an easy victory to run our college hoops record to 4-0 on the year.

It is very early, but it sure is nice to string together some wins to open up the year. With so many unknowns, there is certain to be some unexpected and turbulent times ahead, and it’s great to play with some house money in November. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will look to keep that undefeated streak alive when we head to the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California, for a game between the USC Trojans and the Montana Grizzlies.

Today’s Game

  • Montana Grizzlies (0-0) at USC Trojans (1-0)
  • Galen Center, Los Angeles
  • 6:00 PM PST
  • TV: PACN

The USC Trojans are hoping to stay undefeated tonight as they host the Montana Grizzlies in a non-conference matchup. The Trojans brought in one of the top recruits in the nation in Evan Mobley, and they are hoping that all of that star power is going to earn them a trip back to the NCAA tournament in what looks to be a very competitive PAC-12 conference.

For Montana, the Grizzlies are again one of the favorites to win their league, the Big Sky, and are hopeful they can go dancing again this year after making the field of 68 in both 2018 and 2019. The Grizzles have loaded up on transfers and will battle with Eastern Washington and Northern Colorado for the Big Sky’s auto-bid to the NCAA tournament.

Spread:

  • USC Trojans (-12)
  • Montana Grizzlies (+12)
Money line:

  • USC Trojans (-835)
  • Montana Grizzlies (+540)
Total Points:

  • Over 138.5 (-108)
  • Under 138.5 (-112)

Montana Grizzlies (0-0)

Travis DeCuire has built a small conference powerhouse in his time at Montana. Last year, we didn’t get to see the field of 68 announced, but it wasn’t going to include the Grizzlies, as they had a rare down season. But the Grizz went dancing in each of the previous two seasons, and DeCuire has never had a losing season as the head coach in Missoula, four times winning 20 or more games in a season.

After last year’s rebuilding season, Montana looks to be back on top in the Big Sky, with several impact transfers on board. Michael Steadman (San Jose State), Cameron Satterwhite (Northern Arizona), and Cameron Parker (Sacred Heart) should all start right away for Montana and give DeCruire some experienced upperclassmen to pair with his group of incumbent youngsters. There are four sophomores expected to pick up big minutes for Montana, and all of those guys got valuable playing time as freshmen last year and should be improved.

USC Trojans (1-0)

I’m not sure if we should focus on what USC lost from last year, it’s a lot, or if we should focus on what they gained this year, also a lot. The bad news is one and done freakshow athlete Onyeka Okongwu is gone, he was a first-round NBA draft pick, as is four-year starter Nick Rakocevic. That leaves a big hole to fill for the Trojans, but luckily for head coach Andy Enfield, he was able to convince future lottery pick, Evan Mobley, to stay home in SoCal and attend USC.

Mobley is a skilled big man at 7’0″ and 210 pounds. He is explosive and has drawn comparisons to some of college basketball’s best players, including former Kentucky standout Anthony Davis. While I am not quite ready to call him “The Brow” just yet, his talent is undeniable, and it showed in his first-ever college game when he scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. USC wasn’t able to win the PAC-12 last year with Okongwu as a superstar freshman, will things be different this year with freshman sensation Evan Mobley?

Who Do I Like?

Outside of Mobley, the Trojans actually didn’t have a great recruiting season. We are used to seeing the Trojans loaded with NBA-level talent every year, and shockingly USC’s recruiting class finished 7th in the PAC-12 this year. Not 7th in the nation, 7th in their league.

Andy Enfield must find a way to get things turned around at USC, or he is going to get fired. Remember, Enfield rose to fame when he took Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 back in 2013, but he has only taken the Trojans dancing twice in his six years running the program.

Last year he rode Okongwu and Rakocevic to a third-place finish in the league, and a spot on the NCAA tournament bubble, in what was a mostly wasted season. If he can’t find a way to be better this year, again with a lottery pick on the roster, I am not sure he gets another chance to turn things around.

The Bet

The Trojans opened up their season at home against 281st ranked Cal Baptist. They needed overtime to knock off the Lancers, despite being -19-point favorites. They are again heavily favored tonight, but this time they are playing a team that can play ball, in the Montana Grizzlies. While the Grizzlies aren’t going to ever get an at-large bid, they have a great program, and they are going to be playing hard tonight.

There will be a significant gap in talent between these two teams, as there likely isn’t a player on Montana that would get minutes for the Trojans, but matchups like this are why college basketball is so great. To put it simply, Montana is a better basketball team, and USC has better players.

If USC couldn’t dominate against an awful Cal Baptist team, I have a hard time believing that they are going to blow out a Montana team that knows how to win basketball games. The Grizzlies will have to find a way to slow down Evan Mobley down low, and that is going to be a tough task for sure, but I see this as being a competitive game. Against Cal-Baptist, USC outrebounded the Lancers 48-28, but the game still went into overtime because they were sloppy and reckless with the ball and turned it over 17 times.

I expect more of the same from this talented, yet flawed, USC team tonight. Without their fans in the stands cheering them on, I don’t see much of a homecourt advantage for them. I think they will take too many bad shots, turn the ball over too much, and let the Grizzlies hang around long enough to cover the spread. Give me the Montana Grizzlies tonight on the road, getting +12-points!

The Bet: Montana Grizzlies +12

My Pick
Montana Grizzlies +12
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL