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USC at Oregon State NCAA Men’s Basketball Pick – Jan 10th

We hit a bit of a road bump last night when we backed the Houston Cougars against the Temple Owls. The Cougars came into the game undefeated at 15-0, and I liked their ability to defend and rebound against a Temple team that struggles to score the ball. I expected that the game would be a one or two possession game late and that the Cougars would find a way to sneak out with the win.

I was right about the game being a one-possession game late as this was a one-point game with two minutes left to play. But unfortunately for us, the ball didn’t bounce our way late, and we came up short. This one wasn’t without controversy though as Houston guard Corey Davis Jr drove to the hoop to tie the game up with just over a second remaining on the clock and hit the game-tying shot at the buzzer and was fouled! But the refs decided to call it a charge, not a block, and instead of going to the line to win the game, it was a turnover, and the Cougars tasted defeat for the first time all season long.

Despite the fact that you could have easily made a case that the final play was a bad call, in my estimation the guy was too deep in the zone and not set before taking the contact, the game didn’t really go the way I saw it going anyway. Temple actually managed to out-rebound the Cougars, something I certainly did not see happening. What can you do, we came up one play short. We will shake it off and turn our attention to the PAC-12 as the Oregon State Beavers look to stay hot against the Trojans of USC.

The USC Trojans head to Corvallis Thursday night for a showdown with the Oregon State Beavers. The Trojans came into this season with high hopes of competing for the PAC-12 title and an NCAA tournament bid, but things have started slowly for the boys from Troy. The Trojans are just 9-6 on the season but have started out league play 2-0, so they have reason to be optimistic.

For Oregon State, the Beavers aren’t used to getting much national attention, but after knocking off their in-state rival Oregon Ducks in their last game, the nation is slowly starting to take notice. The Beavers are 9-4 on the year and 1-0 in conference play. Oregon State is -4-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 145 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:00 PM PST from Gill Coliseum.

When you think of elite west coast basketball programs, you think of teams like Gonzaga, Arizona, UCLA, and maybe even lower level teams like Saint Mary’s or Nevada. But the last team that will likely come to mind is Oregon State. The Beavers haven’t been relevant in seemingly forever, they have made the NCAA tournament just one time since 1990, but don’t let that fact fool you, this team is the real deal this year.

The Beavers are led by senior standout forward Tres Tinkle. Tinkle has quietly been one of the best players in the PAC-12 for years now as he can simply do it all. Tinkle leads the team in scoring at over twenty points game and also leads the team in rebounding with almost nine boards a game and assists at four. In the win against Oregon Tinkle shined as he dropped twenty-eight points on the Ducks.

The USC Trojans should be better than they are right now. They have several NBA level players, they just can’t seem to get them all playing well at the same time. The Trojans have eight players averaging at least seven points a game and are led by senior Bennie Boatwright. Boatwright has been around forever and between recruiting controversy and flirting with the NBA, has been in the spotlight since his freshman year, I am shocked he made it to his senior season.

Boatwright exploded onto the scene in LA but hasn’t really improved much in his time in Southern California. Don’t get me wrong, this guy is very talented and is going for fifteen points and six rebounds a game, but most expected him to be an All-American candidate at this point in his career and he just never developed that way.

The PAC-12 is wide open this year. Oregon was expected to be good, but they have been marred by injuries and with Bol Bol out for the year, they might not even make the tournament. Arizona State and UCLA both spent a minute in the top twenty-five, but they both have faded. Right this minute, there isn’t a single PAC-12 team ranked in the top twenty-five of either major poll. That makes a game like this one mean an awful lot, as any team could win this regular season title.

The Trojans have lost to every good team they have played so far this year. Their biggest wins coming into this game are over Cal and Stanford, and neither of those teams are going to be playing meaningful games in March. Their losses aren’t really bad ones as they have played a tough schedule, but in their last two road games, they lost to Santa Clara and Oklahoma, both by double-digits. This team just hasn’t been able to get the job done on the road.

The Beavers resume is a similar one as they don’t have any huge wins to hang their hats on, but the wins over Old Dominion, Penn, and Oregon are all decent wins. I think this game just boils down to the fact that USC struggles on the road and I don’t know how the Trojans are going to stop Tres Tinkle. I think a month from now the Beavers are going to be getting a lot more national attention as they jump into the driver’s seat in the PAC-12, that starts tonight at home against USC. Give me the Oregon State Beavers laying -4-points tonight from Corvallis!

 

The Bet: Oregon State Beavers -4 points

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