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The 3-7 Long Beach State Beach will go on the road to face the 8-2 USC Trojans at 6:30 PM on Sunday night in the Galen Center. The Trojans are 18-point home favorites and we’re looking at a 149.5 over/under. Long State Beach has dropped four of their last five games and they’ll just be looking to keep it close with USC. The Trojans on the other hand, have won three of four and most recently a close victory over TCU. 18 points sure is a lot and USC will have to play a near-perfect game to cover. The teams play conflicting styles, so it’ll likely be whichever team can control the pace that will win ATS.
Coming off an ugly lossThe Long Beach State Beach are coming off a 19-point loss to the Pacific Tigers. Who? Exactly. Beach star Chance Hunter scored zero points on 0-6 shooting with three rebounds and four turnovers. The Tigers bench alone outscored the Beach bench 32-8, and the starters surely weren’t catching up. Junior guard Colin Slater led the way with 20 points and he’s been over 15 for three games in a row now.
The Beach like to play slow, averaging just 68.6 points per game on average. Their strong suit is from the three-point line, where they shoot 35.8%. They also block 3.5 shots per night, which ranks in the top half of the country. Where they struggle is on the boards, ranking 304th in the nation with just 32.6 per game. They also turn the ball over 17.1 times per game, which is 340th in the nation. They’ll have to keep it clean if they want any chance of keeping it close with an efficient USC team.
Trojans hold on tight over Horned FrogsThe Trojans were winning 47-34 at halftime before TCU stormed back and tied the game with just 0:08 on the clock. Fortunately for the Trojans, Nick Racocevic laid it up as time expired to give USC the 80-78 victory. Senior Jonah Mathews (20 pts) led the way for USC with his best game of the season on just 13 shots. Nick Rakocevic (12 pts, 11 reb) double-doubled and Onyeka Okongwu blocked a monstrous seven shots. For TCU, their second-half surge was headed by Kevin Samuel (17 pts, 11 reb) and Desmond Bane (13 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast), but their first-half droughts ended up costing them the victory.
The 8-2 Trojans are a well-balanced and dangerous team. Three players average 12+ points a game and they have one of the strongest interiors in the NCAA. Superstar freshman Onyeka Okongwu is a one-of-a-kind player that leads the Trojans with 17.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per night. He’s complemented by Nick Rakocevich on the interior, who averages his own 12.1 pts, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.8 assists per game. Jonah Mathews is the lead scoring guard and he averages 11.8 points while Ethan Anderson handles the distributing role (5.2 assists per game). The Trojans play relatively fast at 75.5 points per game and they allow just 68. They shoot 45% from the field and allow opponents to shoot 38%.
- Trojans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Sunday games.
- Trojans are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Beach are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- Beach are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s a lot of points, but it won’t seem like it against a team that averages more turnovers than 340 teams in the nation. The Trojans play tough defense and Long Beach State won’t get an easy bucket. Especially not in the paint. Okongwu and Rakocevich are going to demolish the paint and the Trojans were leading by 13 at halftime last game against a much better opponent. The point is that this team is very capable of dominating and this Long Beach State team will give them every opportunity to prove a point after almost letting the last game get away.
Prediction: USC -18.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I don’t think Long Beach State will score the ball very much in this game and the over/under is high enough where both teams need to get involved. 149.5 points are a lot, and especially for two teams that shoot below 46% from the field on average. Neither teams play at a top-100 pace and the Beach will have no idea how to score consistently with Onyeka Okongwu under the rim. Expect a lot of heaves from behind the three-point line and for USC to not have to do much offensively to win handily. The under is a great bet here.
Prediction: Under 149.5