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10:30PM EST: USC +2.5 (3 Units), Boogie Ellis Over 17.5 Points (2 Units).
Solid buy low spot for an underperforming USC offense. The Trojans have faced some top-quality defenses of late and their star Boogie Ellis also missed 3 games. Going back, they've played the 31st, 43rd, 11th, 50th, and 39th ranked defenses. They played the middle 3 games on the road and without Boogie so it's not surprising they failed to reach 70 points in any of those games. Ellis reaggravated a Hamstring injury during their 64-72 Loss at Home to Washington State before their 3-game road trip. The 2 Home games prior to that they put up 93 and 82. Ellis returned last week against UCLA and went 3-10 from the field.
Oregon's defense is far from elite and ranks 92nd nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. They've played 4 road games against Power 6 opponents and are 2-2. In those 4 games they allowed 74, 84, 86, and 80 points. When these two played in Oregon earlier this year the Ducks won 82-74. USC's offense is bound to come around and this is a good spot for it. As much as USC has struggled from the field at times, they're still a quality 3-PT shooting team, ranking 84th shooting 35.9%. That also ticks up to 38.5% when playing at home. Again, they played 3 games without Boogie and his 45.3% 3-PT shooting. Oregon's struggled to defend the 3-PT Line this year. They're 277th in opponent 3-PT %, 111th in opponent 3-PT Rate, and 250th in opponent Open 3 Rate.
Oregon just lost a key piece to their team too. 6th man Keeshawn Barthelemy may be lost for the season as is promising freshman Mookie Cook. Barthelemy is a huge blow for Oregon all around. He really came into his own and started providing huge minutes for this Ducks team. He was averaging 26 minutes per game in the last 4 leading up to Arizona and was well on his way over that before he got hurt. He also started 6 games for the Ducks earlier this year due to injuries. He was one of their primary ball handlers and took over point guard duty when Shelstad came out. He was 3rd on the team in assists per game despite averaging 6 and 9 minutes less than the 2 guys averaging .3 and .5 more assists per game. This is also another blow to their back court and 3-PT defense. They'll be forced to go deeper and inexperienced and they already struggled with leaving guys open from deep.
USC's defense isn't great, but they have the size to contend with Oregon. Of the players capable of providing meaningful minutes, 1 guy’s 7'1, 2 are 6'11, another 6'10, and lastly 6'9. The Ducks offense is going to be a little out of sync without Barthelemy on the floor too. He just got hurt in their most recent game so it's not like they've played much without him. Oregon beat USC already and it's never easy to beat the same team twice. These schools are also huge rivals across multiple sports so you're going to get a fired-up USC squad and Home Arena. Boogie Ellis was able to get his feet wet against UCLA on Saturday and should round back to form here against a weaker Oregon defense.