The Trojans of Southern California take on the Cougars of BYU at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon in the Romans Legend Classic from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. This game is now considered a pick em contest while the total has not been set as of the time of this article.
And while the Trojans were able to pick up wins in each of their two contests of 2020, they rebounded from allowing 87 points to California Baptist in an 8-point overtime win to allow just 62 points to the Montana Grizzlies in what turned out to be a 14-point win. Also important to note that the Trojans were able to cover for the first time this season as 11 point favorites versus the Grizzlies as 11 point favorites. BYU has also done well for themselves as well thus far in 2020 as they covered for the second straight time while posting 80 + points yet again in a 22-point home win over the Utah Valley Wolverines in addition to covering as 19.5 point favorites.
These two teams have not met since 2016 when the Trojans were able to take out the Cougars by seven points at home while covering the spread as 6 point favorites.
USC seeks to enhance their offensive punchThe Trojans have really managed to put the ball in the hoop this season as they are averaging just under 86 points per game while shooting over 53% as a team. In addition to this, they have been pounding teams on the boards as they are racking up 44 rebounds per game, ranking them 24th in the nation. Versus Montana, USC won the rebounding battle by marginal 41 - 22 with 6 ft 10 inch forward Isaiah Mobley, who is averaging 10 points and 12 rebounds in addition to 1.5 blocks per game in 2020, had 13 boards (with seven on the offensive end) while posting six points on a rough, 1-7 shooting night scoring-wise.
The Trojans had just three double-digit scorers on this night with seven foot forward Evan Mosley, who is averaging 16 points, eight rebounds, a steal, along with two blocks this season thus far, ended the game with 11 points while racking up seven boards while reserve Isaiah White chipped in 10 points as he went 8-10 from the free throw line in the contest. In all, the Trojans had a very balanced and efficient night as a team as they shot 50% from the floor while converting on 43% of their attempts from three-point range . Important to note that USC turned the ball over 16 times, however, with Isiah Mobley along with guard Ethan Anderson having three turnovers each.
Nonetheless, USC was able to pick up a victory due to their defensive intensity as they not only forced 12 turnovers for the contest but allowed just 34% shooting to Montana, including giving up just four of 17 3-point attempts. Expect the Trojans to certainly have a test in this contest when they face a BYU team that has also shined on the offensive end thus far in 2020. In fact, The Cougars are averaging seven points more than the Trojans thus far while also shooting 54% from the floor as a team, including 43% from three-point range, thus ranking them in the top 35 in the nation in these categories.
Barcello is the man for CougarsSix foot two guard Alex Barcello had yet another sensational contest for BYU in their matchup versus Utah Valley as he led the team with 20 points and seven rebounds along with dishing out three assists in the blowout victory. Nonetheless, he was a bit more erratic than usual in being responsible for a total of four turnovers. In fact, BYU, as a team, was a bit turnover-prone in this contest as they finished the game with a total of 18 giveaways, with guard Brandon Averette along with forward Conner Harding having three a piece.
Nonetheless, Averette and Harding combined to go 4-9 from long range in the contest while ending with 11 points each while Barcello also shined from beyond the arc as he went 5-6 on the night. Again, while BYU ranks high within most offensive categories thus far, they will face the stiffest competition in 2020 when they face the Trojans Tuesday afternoon as USC enters this contest allowing just under 40% shooting to opponents and have limited opposing team's ability to exploit them on the glass as they are ranked 25th in the country in giving up less than 25 rebounds per game.
However, an area that BYU may be able to exploit is USC's inability to effectively guard the long range shot as they are allowing over 41% shooting this far in the season. And when one considers that BarceIlo is shooting a whopping 73% from three-point range on the season and 66% from the floor, one can conclude that the Trojans may indeed have a long night in this contest. Important to note that Averette is also shooting 44% from three-point range along with 47% from the field while Harding has made 7 of 14 three-pointers on the season while shooting 50% from the field. In all, one should really expect an up-and-down contest in this game as it seems that the team that decides to buckle down and play defense at critical moments will likely pick up the victory.
Stats & Trends
- Cougars are 6-1 ATS in last 7 games
- Trojans are 2-4 ATS in last 6 games
While the Trojans were able to pick up a win in their last meeting versus the Cougars years ago, it will be a test for them in this contest as BYU has proven that they have the ability to play hard on both ends of the floor thus far in 2020 and are also seeking a signature win. Barcello and company have done well in shooting the long ball thus far, which happens to be a weak point for USC’s defense. In all, I expect BYU to make this game very interesting as I happen to see them pulling out a slim victory thanks to their ability to score efficiently from the floor along with not being afraid to launch shots from the arc. In what should be an up and down contest, look for the Cougars to shine in this outing as they will pick up a much needed win in this game as they will exploit the Trojans’ perimeter defense throughout.