Cal Santa Barbara (8-2) at Southern California (5-3)
When: Sunday, December 17th 2017
Where: Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: Pac-12 Network
Opening Odds: Southern Cal -13/149.5
The Southern California Trojans have fallen out of the top 25 rankings after a three-game losing streak, and will now begin a brutal stretch beginning with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Sunday night in Los Angeles. USC has played just seven games in the first 34 days of the season, but will ramp-up the schedule with six games over a 12-day period. The Trojans started that stretch with an 82-59 victory over Santa Clara on Thursday – their first win in 22 days. The last victory came just before Thanksgiving when they beat Lehigh 88-63. The Trojans opened the Santa Clara game with a 10-0 run and led by as many as 24 points in the second half. The Gauchos have won seven games in a row including a 91-69 win against Montana State in Bozeman on December 9th. Santa Barbara ranks near the top half of Division I in three-point shooting at 38.8% as a team. USC leads the series 13-1 and won the last meeting, 96-72, at the Galen Center last November.
The Gauchos have already topped last year’s win total (6-22) after an injury and academic issue-plagued 2016-17 season, but this will be their toughest test to date. Sophomore guard Max Heidegger leads four players in double figures with a 23.4 average and has made 31-of-71 3-pointers (43.7%). Senior forward Leland King II, a transfer from Nevada, is averaging a double-double (19.2 points, 10.0 rebounds) while shooting 46.7% from long range, and junior forward Jalen Canty (11.3 points) and junior guard Gabe Vincent (10.9) also are averaging in double figures. Santa Barbara will have three more non-league games after Sunday before opening Big West play on January 4th at Cal Poly.
Nick Rakocevic made his first start of the season against Santa Clara because USC coach Andy Enfield said guard Elijah Stewart was late for team functions during the week, and he responded with a double-double (16 points, 10 boards). USC’s frontcourt is very dominating and it starts with potential NBA lottery pick Chimezie Metu, who finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against the Broncs. Bennie Boatwright also had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Metu (16.1 points, 8.5 rebounds) leads the team in scoring and rebounding with Boatwright (15.4 points), senior point guard Jordan McLaughlin (13.8) and Stewart (10.5) also averaging in double figures.
USC is the better team, but the Gauchos are playing well right and can shoot the three. I believe they will score enough to keep pace with USC and cover the spread.
Pick: Cal Santa Barbara +13.5
- Gauchos are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Gauchos are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Gauchos are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Gauchos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- Gauchos are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Gauchos are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Gauchos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Gauchos are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Gauchos are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs. Pacific-12.
- Trojans are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Trojans are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Trojans are 16-5-2 ATS in their last 23 vs. Big West.
- Trojans are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
- Trojans are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a straight up win.
- Trojans are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Trojans are 35-17-2 ATS in their last 54 non-conference games.
- Trojans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Over is 4-0 in Gauchos last 4 road games.
- Over is 8-1 in Gauchos last 9 Sunday games.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Gauchos last 6 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Under is 8-2 in Gauchos last 10 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 5-2 in Gauchos last 7 overall.
- Over is 5-2 in Gauchos last 7 non-conference games.
- Under is 3-0-1 in Trojans last 4 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 7-1-1 in Trojans last 9 home games.
- Under is 7-2 in Trojans last 9 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 10-3-2 in Trojans last 15 Sunday games.
- Under is 3-1-1 in Trojans last 5 overall.
- Under is 3-1-1 in Trojans last 5 non-conference games.
- Under is 6-2-1 in Trojans last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Under is 10-4 in Trojans last 14 vs. Big West.
- Over is 31-15-1 in Trojans last 47 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.