The California Golden Bears take on the USC Trojans. Check out our college basketball odds series for our California USC prediction and pick. Find out how to watch California USC.
The college basketball season has been thrilling and remarkable in some parts of the country, and disappointing in others. The West Coast would qualify as the latter example. Teams just haven’t measured up this season, and the California Golden Bears are the worst of them all. Cal has won just three games so far this season, going 3-22 in 25 contests. Cal coach Mark Fox just isn’t recruiting the caliber of athlete Cal needs to be competitive in the Pac-12 or in any other facet of major college basketball. The Bears have not been able to score much this season. They had a rare breakout game against Stanford and another versus Colorado. Those are Cal’s only two Pac-12 Conference victories this season. The vast majority of the time, Cal struggles to score and goes through painful in-game droughts. Fox will try to get his team to close the season strong, but it’s hard to know what exactly he can do to create meaningful changes in his team’s results.
USC is obviously a huge favorite in this game, but after the Trojans lost to Oregon State this past Saturday, no one in the USC camp should feel relaxed or comfortable about this game. The Trojans were in a good bubble position, but after the stumble in Corvallis against the Beavers, they are now on the middle of the bubble and have no real margin for error. If they lose this game, it’s a total disaster and a likely source of a ticket to the NIT.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the California-USC College Basketball odds.
College Basketball Odds: California-USC Odds
California Golden Bears: +15.5 (-102)
USC Trojans: -15.5 (-120)
Over: 128.5 (-115)
Under: 128.5 (-105)
How To Watch California vs. USC
TV: Fox Sports 1
Stream: Fox Sports app
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. PT
*Watch California-USC LIVE with fuboTV (Click for free trial)*
Why California Could Cover the Spread
The USC roster is thinner than normal. Big man Joshua Morgan and guard Reese Dixon-Waters will not play in this game. They did not play in the loss to Oregon State. They did not play one week ago in an 18-point loss to Oregon. It is very clear that without Morgan and Dixon-Waters, USC has a very thin and ineffective bench which does not have much to offer. Big man Vince Iwuchukwu is on a minutes restriction because of the cardiac arrest he suffered this past July. He is under close supervision and will not be allowed to overextend himself. His minutes restriction is at 25 to 27 minutes tops. Since he can’t play 33 to 36 minutes per game, that means there will be 13 to 15 minutes per game in which he is not on the floor. With Josh Morgan out, USC does not have a good option as its backup big man. Cal can feast on the glass in those minutes against an undersized USC lineup.
Why USC Could Cover the Spread
The Trojans have shot the ball poorly the past few games. Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson have not been in rhythm and haven’t played particularly well in recent weeks. After this mini-slump, expect Ellis and Peterson to get going. They should be able to shoot the ball better against Cal. The Bears’ lack of offense means that Ellis and Peterson won’t have to work quite as hard on defense. They should be able to get the shots they want on offense and post big numbers, which would lead to a blowout win for the Trojans.
Final California-USC Prediction & Pick
USC will win the game, but the spread is hard to calibrate. USC could easily win by 25, but the absences of Morgan and Dixon-Waters could keep the game within a 10-point range. Pass on this one. Look for live-betting value instead.
Final California-USC Prediction & Pick: USC -15.5