How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Saturday, 2/3/23
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
Location: Los Angeles, California
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +9
USC Trojans 2022-23 Statistics:
Record: 16-6 (8-3)
Points For per Game: 71.9 (139th)
Points Against per Game: 66.4 (79th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 113.0 (49th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.7 (45th)
Strength of Schedule: 38th
USC’s Key Players:
G- Boogie Ellis, Sr. 6’3, 185: 16.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 43.7% FG, 38.2% 3pt, 78.0% FT
As a senior, Boogie is pretty much a finished product. His shooting splits are very close to the last several years but his usage rate is up which explains his career high 15+ points per game. He’s a career 37% 3-pt shooter and is capable of scoring at every level. He’ll occasionally fill in as the psuedo-point guard but is at his best as a score-first player.
1st game vs. UW: 27 pts (10/19 FG), 7 reb, 3 stl
G- Reese Dixon-Waters, So. 6’5, 210: 9.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 43.0% FG, 23.7% 3pt, 83.0% FT
I had Dixon-Waters as one of my clear breakout players in the conference and he has gotten part of the way there but hasn’t quite hit stardom yet. Last year he shot almost 50% from 3-pt range on limited attempts and this year it’s below 30% and in Pac-12 play is below 20%. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle and he should start shooting better at some point.
1st game vs. UW: 4 pts, 2 reb, 3 to
G- Tre White, Fr. 6’7, 210: 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 49.4% FG, 25.6% 3pt, 66.7% FT
Things have started to pick up for the true freshman who was the #50 recruit in the country this year. He’s scored at least 7 points in 13 straight games now so the consistency is there. He much prefers to play around the basket and is extremely efficient around the rim while almost never turning over the ball.
1st game vs. UW: 12 pts (3/4 FG), 8 reb
G- Drew Peterson, Sr. 6’9, 217: 14.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4.6 apg, 46.9% FG, 37.9% 3pt, 72.0% FT
Peterson is still the ultimate swiss army knife as a point guard inside a very think 6’9 frame. He plays a ton of minutes per game so those numbers are slightly inflated but it means he almost never leaves the court and is integral to what USC does on both ends. With his height, shooting, and passing ability he’s pretty much custom-made to destroy the Husky zone when he gets to the free throw line.
1st game vs. UW: 17 pts (5/13 FG), 2 reb, 3 ast, 4 to
C- Joshua Morgan, Jr. 6’11, 235: 7.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 57.4% FG, 56.3% FT
Things have come together for Morgan in his 4th year in college after serving as a backup to Isaiah Mobley and Chevez Goodwin in past years. He’s 13th in the country and tops in the Pac-12 in block rate and has become one of the premier rim protectors in the nation. The defensive rebounding has been a struggle but he’s a plus getting put backs and getting to the free throw line.
1st game vs. UW: 11 pts (5/8 FG), 5 reb, 5 blk
USC lost their season opener at home against Florida Gulf Coast but since that time they have been pretty reliable at home. They’ve gone 11-0 in the intervening games since including wins over UCLA, Auburn, Wazzu, Utah, and Colorado. Meanwhile, Washington is 1-6 on the road with the lone victory coming over Colorado. If you want to end your analysis there you probably can.
In the first game against the Trojans back in Seattle, the Huskies were able to play competitively and were in the lead after 30 minutes. From there on that though USC bludgeoned Washington and outscored them 25-9 down the stretch seemingly solving the Husky zone. That was made easier by virtue of the Trojans being allowed to play volleyball at the rim.
USC is 7th tallest team in the country and that showed as USC secured an absolutely absurd 56% of offensive rebound opportunities. It doesn’t matter how well you play defense, there’s no chance to win when you give up that many 2nd chances. The Huskies actually had one of their best games of the season on the offensive glass themselves but they missed substantially more shots.
Joshua Morgan is an elite rim protector but by virtue of jumping out of position for block opportunities he’s a very poor defensive rebounder. If UW can keep pace on the glass while actually making shots at the basket it will be an unexpected but huge boost.
Part of the reason that Washington kept it close was they actually shot it well from 3-point range and only had 13 turnovers. That +4 margin on made 3’s and +3 turnover margin kept the game from turning into a ridiculous blowout instead of just a semi-blowout. It seems unlikely though that the Huskies can win both battles again (especially now that Cole Bajema is suspended for tonight’s game after making contact with a UCLA player’s nether regions on Thursday).
The biggest issue as eluded to above was the rim protection going into the trees against such a big USC squad. Joshua Morgan had 5 blocks as Washington shot just 31.7% on 2-point attempts. It’s just about impossible to win a game when you can’t convert even when you get all the way to the rim. We saw Hop bench Keyon Menifield and Koren Johnson in the 2nd half against UCLA even when Noah Williams was out. Both freshmen have to know that any layup attempt with Morgan in the game is probably getting blocked and they need to drive and kick or pull up for a floater instead.
Washington showed a lot of heart getting back into the game in the 2nd half against UCLA on Thursday night. Only one other team has played the Bruins closer than Washington’s 9-point margin of defeat in Pauley Pavilion. That team though was this USC squad and the Huskies are just at a talent disadvantage across at least 4 positions although the Brooks vs. Peterson debate is interesting since they’re such different types of 6’8+ players.
For half this game Washington will appear to be USC’s equal. Maybe for even more than that. But at some point UW’s offense will grow stagnant and hemorrhage turnovers and USC will go on something like an 11-0 run that will largely be the difference in the game.
Max’s Record this Year: 18-6 Straight Up, 14-9-1 Against The Spread
Washington Huskies- 64, USC Trojans- 77