Dayton vs USC NCAA Hoops – Dec 30

Our personal ten game college hoops win streak came to an end yesterday when UNLV failed to cover (by two points) at North Carolina, but a new two-game win streak was born with back-to-back covers in Kentucky pushing Louisville to the brink and Butler absolutely hammering Vanderbilt on the road.  That runs us to 12-1 ATS in our last 13 picks – hopefully stuffing a lot of our good readers’ stockings with a little extra Christmas gifts.

Today is a pretty light slate in college hoops, but there are a few good games worth tuning into today.  Early in the day is a pair of Missouri Valley Conference openers matching the four best five teams in the league against each other.  Wichita State takes on Northern Iowa in a matchup pitting two of the league’s most successful tourney teams, and the latter is an interesting matchup of bubble hopefuls, Illinois State and Indiana State.  No official picks on these two games, but if you like mid-major hoops, these are a good watch.   I’ll be tuning in to both to get a better personal read on just how good each of these four teams are, and if any can contend with Creighton.

For today’s free pick, we are going to focus on one of the last intriguing non-conference matchups of the season as a surprisingly tough A-10 foe heads west to tackle a struggling Pac-12 team.

Dayton Flyers at USC Trojans -2.5 (Total: 127)

USC has had their fair share of struggles so far this season, and NCAA Tourney hopes are seeming more like fantasy than possibility at this point.  Even an NIT berth seems like a long shot.  The Trojans are 4-8 and on a two-game losing streak that includes losses to Georgia (who is awful) and UC Irvine… who is also awful.  Some of their losses are reasonable; Minnesota, San Diego State, @ New Mexico, and Illinois.   But eight losses for a BCS conference team before the New Year?  Wow.

Dayton, on the other hand, has been better than expected.  They enter tonight at 9-3 with a recent win over Murray State and an early season win at Alabama.  Their first loss at Colorado wasn’t a bad one.  The second and third losses; Weber State and Illinois State, are a little less good.  Their conference schedule will give them ample opportunity to play themselves into the NCAA Tournament, and tonight is a huge important step.

I like Dayton to play a solid game on the road tonight, especially knowing how important a game it is for their bubble chances down the road.  When the schedule was made I am sure Dayton saw this as a potential good win.  Now it has become a must-win, because the alternative is a BAD loss.

Dayton is getting points on the road against an absolutely dreadful USC team.  I like them to not only cover but to also get the win in Los Angeles.

Free Pick:  Dayton Flyers +2.5

Chris Scheeren / Author