Date: Thursday, 1/14/21
Tip-Off Time: 6:30 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Los Angeles, California
Betting line: Washington +14
USC Trojans 2020-21 Statistics:
Record: 9-2 (3-1)
Points For per Game: 76.2 ppg (69th)
Points Against per Game: 63.5 ppg (31st)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 110.5 (44th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 90.4 (14th)
Strength of Schedule: 68th
USC Key Players:
C- Evan Mobley, Fr. 7’0, 215: 16.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.3 bpg, 59.8% FG, 40.0% 3pt, 68.8% FT
Mobley has lived up to his billing as a top-3 freshman in the country and has been essentially a better shot blocking version of Isaiah Stewart from last year. He’s shooting a ridiculous 68% in the paint but is also capable of hitting a midrange jumper or even occasionally stretch beyond the 3-pt line. Expect him to dominate UW inside all game.
G- Tahj Eaddy, Sr. 6’2, 165: 12.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.9 apg, 41.4% FG, 35.8% 3pt, 83.8% FT
The grad transfer from Santa Clara has stepped in and made an immediate impact as USC’s second leading scorer and de facto point guard with starter Ethan Anderson out for 75% of the season so far due to injury. He’s a guard without any glaring weaknesses but also without any clear phenomenal traits. But if the game is somehow close in the closing minutes the ball will be in Eaddy’s hands.
G- Drew Peterson, Jr. 6’8, 195: 10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.8 apg, 48.2% FG, 45.8% 3pt, 69.7% FT
Perhaps more surprising than Eaddy’s performance has been Peterson who transferred in from Rice and also has taken on primary ball handler responsibilities at 6’8. He was a 31% 3-pt shooter in his first 2 seasons so that 46% number is almost sure to regress but for right now he’s putting up Kyle Anderson type stat lines as an extremely tall guard.
F- Isaiah Mobley, So. 6’10, 235: 9.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.6 apg, 45.7% FG, 25.0% 3pt, 45.9% FT
Isaiah is essentially the poor man’s version of his younger brother. He’s just as good a rebounder but isn’t quite an offensive savant like Evan. The shooting in particular is extremely poor and UW will be fine with him touching the ball outside the paint and should feel okay putting him at the line rather than giving up a dunk if the choice presents itself.
G- Isaiah White, Jr. 6’7, 210: 8.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.7 apg, 45.9% FG, 30.4% 3pt, 66.7% FT
White came in from Utah Valley and has been a perfectly adequate role player for the Trojans. He’s not a great 3-pt shooter but he doesn’t turn the ball over and is able to finish around the rim.
USC 2020-21 Shot Chart
After failing to capitalize on opportunities late against Cal last weekend the Huskies now get what has to be one of the toughest 2-game stretches in the league this season. At USC and then at UCLA.
The Trojans do not appear to be a particularly good matchup. And that’s before we even examine the talent discrepancy. USC is the tallest team in the country this season. Their most played lineup over the last 5 games has run: 6’2, 6’7, 6’8, 6’10, and 7’0. If Washington doesn’t get absolutely slaughtered on the boards in this game then something will have gone terribly right for the Huskies.
That size is made possibly by the Mobley brothers who have combined for 26 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. Expect one of them to be manning the middle at all times and for them also to share the court quite a bit. Evan is probably second right now in the Pac-12 player of the year race and should conclude this season by becoming one of the first names off the board in the NBA Draft.
If there’s one flaw in this USC team it’s the lack of passing. With starting point guard Ethan Anderson injured it means that the Trojans have only one player in their rotation under 6’6. They don’t rely on the 3-pointer and they’re mediocre at getting assists on their baskets. Washington absolutely has to try to collapse their zone and be okay with USC making some open 3-pointers. If not then they will lob it in to Evan Mobley all night and he will foul out the entire Husky front line. The Trojans are coming off an OT win against UC Riverside (yes, that UC Riverside) in which they shot 3/21 from deep. It’s going to take a similarly poor shooting effort for UW to compete.
Unsurprisingly with their length, USC is also one of the best defensive teams in the country. Their height has meant the paint is completely off limits for opponents. USC is 3rd nationally in opponent 2-pt FG% and 4th in block percentage. Considering the Huskies have all but abandoned post scoring this season that might actually play into their favor. The one thing USC hasn’t done is force turnovers so if UW can avoid the boneheaded mistakes they have a chance to do okay in that category.
Washington averaged 44 points per half in their last 3 to close out the Bay Area road trip. Erik Stevenson finally broke out with 27 points on 7/9 3-pt shooting versus Cal while Bey set his career high in scoring in consecutive games. If both players are able to keep up that kind of shooting while Quade Green makes shots from deep at his career rate then maybe, maybe the Huskies have enough firepower to compete. But that’s a lot to ask.
Washington Huskies- 64, USC Trojans- 83
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