Utah vs. USC - 2/23/20 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Utah vs. USC - 2/23/20 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans (19-8) at Utah Runnin' Utes (14-12)

College Basketball: Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm (Jon M. Huntsman Center)

The Line: Utah Runnin' Utes -1 -- Over/Under: 134.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The USC Trojans will travel to the Jon M. Hunstman Center in Salt Lake City, UT to take on the Utah Utes this Sunday in a PAC12 showdown, tipping off at 6:00 EST.

The USC Trojans lost their last game and dropped to 19-8 (8-6 PAC12) after being defeated by the Colorado Buffaloes, 70-66 this past Thursday.  USC held a 29-26 lead at the half, but Colorado got hot in the second half and got out to a 56-44 lead with 10:02 remaining in the game. The Trojans pulled within one at 67-66 with 1:35 remaining, but the Buffs were able to hold off the comeback and seal the victory.  USC shot 45.9% from the field but only 18.2% from three-point range. Onyeka Okongwu led the way for the Trojans with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and a block.

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On the season, USC is averaging 71.6 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the field.  The Trojans are also making 6.3 three-pointers per game on 34.8% shooting from beyond the arc.  Onyeka Okongwu (16.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg), Jonah Mathews (13.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.0 apg) and Nick Rakocevic (11.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.6 apg) have been the offensive leaders for USC this season.

Defensively, USC is allowing their opponents to score 66.9 points per game on 38.9% shooting from the field.  The Trojans are grabbing 6.6 steals per game and have a turnover margin of -1.4 on the season.

The Utah Utes have lost three games in a row and have dropped to 14-12 (5-9 PAC12) after being defeated by the UCLA Bruins, 69-58, this past Thursday.  Utah went down 33-21 at the half and couldn’t mount a rally as UCLA controlled the game throughout. The Utes shot 43.8% from the field and 25.0% from three-point range.  Alfonso Plummer led the way for Utah with 16 points and a steal in the game.

On the season, Utah is averaging 70.6 points per game on 44.5% shooting from the field.  The Utes are also making 6.9 three-pointers per game on 32.5% shooting from the field. Timmy Allen (17.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.9 apg), Rylan Jones (10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg) and Both Gach (9.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.7 apg) have been the offensive leaders for Utah this season.

Defensively, Utah is allowing their opponents to average 69.8 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the field.  The Utes scoring margin of 0.8 is 208th in the country.

USC is 5-0 against the spread in their last 5 games and just 2-6 against the spread in their last 8 games played in February.  Utah is 2-4 against the spread in their last 6 games and 3-6 against the spread in their past 9 games in February.

USC comes in into the game as an elite rim protecter, ranking 19th in the country with 5.1 blocks per game.  The Trojans also have the 20th ranked scoring defense in the land. Utah ranks 130th in FG% and 194th in scoring defense.

USC got a four point win at home against Utah in their first contest back in January and after coming up just short in Boulder against the Buffaloes, I expect the Trojans to come into this game aggressively.  I think USC controls the pace of this game and dominates on the glass on their way to the road victory. I’m taking USC in this one.

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