USC Trojans vs. Nevada Wolf Pack Pick 11/16/19

by | Nov 16, 2019 | cbb

USC Trojans (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 11 PM ET
Where: Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nev.

Point Spread: USC -2.5/NEV +2.5 (MyBookie)
Total: O/U 155

Last Time Out:

USC beat South Dakota State 84-66; Nevada defeated Texas-Arlington 80-73.

Scouting the Trojans:

Andy Enfield has to start seeing results in Los Angeles. The Trojans have been a middling program under his watch, and while that’s a far cry from where USC used to be, it’s not good enough in a Pac-12 that has been overshadowed in recent years by the likes of Gonzaga and Nevada out west. It’d be one thing if the Trojans were finishing fifth or sixth in a strong league and routinely making the NCAA tournament, but Enfield has yet to avoid double-digit losses in a season and has missed the tournament two years running.

Getting USC moving again will mean getting good play inside from his big men, specifically Onyeka Okongwu and Nick Rakocevic. So far, both have responded to the challenge against lesser squads, combining for 31.3 points a game and 19.3 rebounds. That sets the Trojans up well for success against Nevada, which has held its own against lower-level squads on the glass but got pounded on the boards by Utah, a significant factor in the Utes’ 79-74 win over the Wolf Pack.

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Scouting the Wolf Pack:

Eric Musselman and Nevada’s inside scoring game is gone, replaced by a guard-heavy lineup that plays fast but is very much a work in progress. Lindsey Drew is finally healthy for Nevada and has dominated in the early going, averaging 20.3 points per game in the Wolf Pack’s first three contests. But looking at the Wolf Pack’s stat sheets shows a critical weakness: this is not a deep basketball team. Drew and Jazz Johnson have done their share of the scoring, but all four of Nevada’s players in double figures are guards.

Nevada has to get more from its big men if it wants to be competitive in the Mountain West, let alone with Pac-12 opponents. Where past Nevada teams had the Martins and Jordan Caroline to bang around in the paint, this team doesn’t have that. Robby Robinson has done the best job at grabbing rebounds, but he’s not much of a scoring threat, and for a team that only goes nine deep, there isn’t a lot in the way of scoring options on this roster.

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3-point shooting. When Nevada can stroke it, it’s a difficult opponent to defeat. Drew and Johnson have both shot better than 40 percent from deep, and that’s been instrumental in helping the Wolf Pack win two of its first three games. But when the deep shots don’t drop, rebounds aplenty are the result, and that kind of game would favor the bulk of USC.

USC will Cover if:

The Trojans can push the Wolf Pack around in the paint. USC is the bigger and bulkier team, and it needs to throw its weight around and keep the crowd from getting into the game. The Trojans have the personnel needed to put a lot of pressure on Nevada and force the Wolf Pack to keep hitting shots just to stay close. That weighs on a team over time, and if USC can assert its will, this is the Trojans’ game to lose.

Nevada will Cover if:

The Wolf Pack can play fast without playing too fast. Nevada is a quick team that likes to push the tempo, but at times, it has pushed too hard, leading to 11 turnovers a game against a middling schedule. The Wolf Pack can give themselves a chance to win by getting plenty of extra possessions, but if they end up giving the Trojans extra possessions with mistakes by playing too fast, this will not end well at all for Nevada.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

I’ve been burned by road teams in each of my past two picks, but I’m going to take another road team here because USC is a really bad matchup for this Nevada team. The Wolf Pack doesn’t have the power that they once did, and without that, they don’t have the strength to stand up to the Trojans. USC is the more efficient and more talented team, and I think it will assert its will on this game and pick up a solid cover on the road. Give me the Trojans to come into Reno and leave with the victory.