Having snapped a five game losing skid last Saturday, the Trojans look to win their second game in a row for the first time since the initial two contests of the season when they host UC Irvine tonight.
Season: 33-27 ($3.30)
Times are a bit tough for sports fans in Los Angeles. They haven't had a pro football team to cheer for in nearly 20 years, the NHL continues its silly strike, denying the faithful a chance to see the defending champion Kings, and more than three months remain until the Angels and Dodgers take to the diamond with a couple of the best MLB teams that money can buy.
There is still a chance the UCLA Bruins can help fill the
void on the basketball court, although that's looking slimmer and slimmer. Kevin O'Neill and the Southern Cal
Trojans? No, they aren't going to
provide any help at all.
odds for the contest have USC favored by 9.5 to 10 points, and the experts had
yet to come up with a total for the matchup.
Offense continues to plague Southern Cal
We've taken a look at the Trojans a couple of times already
this season, including the only time they won two straight with a
matchup vs. Long Beach State back in mid-November. That proved to be one of USC's four wins, but
came against a very shorthanded 49ers bunch and should be filed away as a
victory that had more to do with the level of competition than Southern Cal's own competence.
It could be argued, in fact, that all four Trojans victories
came as gifts from the other team or the schedule-makers. They opened with a 14-point win over Coppin State
in an unlined affair before beating LBSU. Then came a 59-53 triumph at the Maui Invitational vs. Texas, a game that went to overtime with
neither team having reached the 50-point plateau.
That dubya was followed by five consecutive losses before
USC broke the skid last Saturday vs. UC Riverside. Southern Cal scored 70 points for the first
time since the season opener against Coppin
State, and Riverside
managed to put just 26 on the scoreboard in allowing the Trojans their first
cover since the Texas
Nobody expected this Trojans team to be an offensive
juggernaut, but the results so far have been even worse than forecast. Southern Cal
can get by and compete with the current 64.1 points per game, but cannot
continue to shoot under 43% as a team. The best offensive effort so far came at New Mexico
a couple of weeks back, but O'Neill and the Trojans reverted to their usual
ways the very next game against Minnesota.
Specifically, Eric Wise is going to have to keep from
spending time on the bench due to foul trouble and someone other than JT
Terrell is going to have to step up and be willing to take (and make) shots
On Glass, But Also Offensively-Challenged
got off to a decent 3-1 start to the season with the only loss a tough-luck
overtime setback at UCLA very early. But, the Anteaters were never able to build off that and have dropped six of their
last eight (1-6 ATS).
Like their opponents tonight, the Anteaters aren't much of a
threat on the offensive end, but UC Irvine has been a been a solid rebounding
squad and attack the glass very well as a team. It was their work on the boards that allowed the Anteaters to come close
to upsetting UCLA and hanging with LSU on Tuesday when their rally
came up short, and that same effort would go a long way this evening.
There's just no confidence in USC at this point, and I'll be
taking the points on the visitors with my play.
Irvine +10 at Pinnacle