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#17 USC Game Preview & How to Watch

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Washington kicks off the brutal L.A road trip against the Trojans

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Thursday, 2/17/22

Tip-Off Time: 8:30 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Streaming: Pac-12.com/live

Radio: Huskies Gameday App & KJR 950 AM

Location: Los Angeles, California

DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +11.5

#17 USC 2021-22 Statistics:

Record: 21-4 (10-4)

Points For per Game: 73.1 ppg (99th)

Points Against per Game: 63.6 ppg (29th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.2 (39th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 95.0 (47th)

Strength of Schedule: 58th

USC Trojans Key Players:

G- Ethan Anderson, So. 6’1, 210: 5.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 39.1% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 38.9% FT

If there’s good news for USC about Anderson’s performance it’s that he has managed to cut his turnovers in half from last year in the same minutes. The bad news is that he has struggled to score the ball in every way as evidenced by all of the percentages that start with 3 in the stat line above. If there’s a weak spot in USC’s lineup, this is it.

G- Boogie Ellis, Jr. 6’3, 185: 12.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 42.0% FG, 34.5% 3pt, 78.3% FT

Ellis led Memphis to an NIT title last year and then transferred back home and has filled a hole in the guard rotation for the Trojans. He’s not an all-conference performer but he’s capable of scoring from all over the floor and has impressive athleticism.

G- Drew Peterson, Jr. 6’9. 195: 11.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 47.7% FG, 41.9% 3pt, 67.5% FT

We’ll see how Peterson reacts coming off the game of his life when he had 27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 4 assists in an upset of UCLA. The former Rice Owl is shooting a scorching 48% from 3-pt range in Pac-12 play and has legitimate guard skills in an impossibly skinny 6’9 frame.

F- Isaiah Mobley, So. 6'10, 240: 14.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 45.7% FG, 39.4% 3pt, 67.4% FT

Mobley missed USC’s last game after suffering a broken nose but I expect he’ll play tonight. He’s 0.1 assists away from leading the Trojans in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Isaiah may not be as good as his brother Evan but he’s a clear 1st team all-conference talent and is a nightmare for Washington’s defense with his ability to pass as a big man against the zone.

F- Chevez Goodwin, Sr. 6’9, 225: 11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 58.4% FG, 48.7% FT

I’m sure USC wishes that Goodwin was a little bit more of a rim protector as his block rate is low for a bouncy 6’9 center but he’s more than capable of scoring in the paint. Goodwin in particular is one of the best offensive rebounders in the conference and should end up with multiple put back scores against the Huskies.

The Outlook

It isn’t often we get 13 games into the conference season before playing a pair of opponents but that’s ultimately what’s happening this week. And it just so happens to be the hardest road trip in the conference this year with a pair of ranked teams in USC and UCLA. There were understandably questions about how the Trojans would fare with Evan Mobley looking like a future all-star as a rookie in the NBA. But younger brother Isaiah has been a stud and he’s gotten just enough help from 3 other double digit scorers to get out to an impressive 21-4 start.

The Pac-12 is the land of giants and USC is another just massive team. Washington recently played the 2nd and 3rd tallest teams in the country (Arizona and Stanford) and now they get the 4th tallest team. Historically those kind of teams have really given Mike Hopkins’ teams trouble with the ability to get offensive rebounds and easy put backs against the UW zone. Sure enough, USC is 30th in the country in offensive rebounding rate and should be able to play volleyball at times against the Huskies.

Overall this is a well balanced Trojan team that has turned their size into both an above average offense and defense. USC ranks 39th in offensive efficiency and 47th in defensive efficiency. When trying to score the ball the Trojans rank between 50th and 125th in basically every category so outside of offensive rebounding they’re above average but not spectacular across the board. Free throw shooting is their one big deficiency as they shoot just 65.1% on the season. Washington is hoping that will end up being relevant down the stretch

Given the size of the USC roster it isn’t a surprise that their defensive calling card is their ability to shut down the paint. They’re 2nd in the country in opposing 2-pt%. The only team ahead of them is Arizona who held the Huskies to 42.9% shooting on 2’s even with Terrell Brown Jr.’s on fire start to the game. 8 of USC’s 10 most common lineups over the last 5 games involve at least 3 players 6’9 or taller and the most common one includes 4 of them. Whoever Ethan Anderson is guarding when he’s in the game is the only Husky who won’t have plus size going against them (or I guess Riley Sorn).

It isn’t hard to think that this game may end up coming down to injuries though. Daejon Davis said this week that he’s expecting to play but we’ll see if he’s 100%. His impact on the defensive end was sorely missed against Arizona and his presence makes a huge difference for the Huskies even if he’s struggling on the offensive end. Meanwhile Isaiah Mobley is expected to be back but if he does happen to miss the game then it is a massive boon to Washington’s chances.

If the Dawgs pulled the upset tonight it would be by far their best win of the season. UW’s 3 road wins this season are against the squads ranked 10th, 11th, and 12th in the conference standings. If it weren’t for the fact that USC beat UCLA in their most recent game you could certainly argue the Trojans are floundering a bit. Their last 6 games have all been decided by fewer than 10 points including wins by 7 or fewer against #127 Cal, #137 ASU, and #267 Pacific. I just don’t like the matchup for UW though and think we see a double digit loss tonight.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 61, #17 USC Trojans- 72