Oregon (21-4, 10-2) at USC (21-4, 8-4)
When: Saturday, February 11th 2017
Where: Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 10:30 ET | TV: Pac-12 Network
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The Southern California Trojans look to extend their winning streak when they host the sixth-ranked Oregon Ducks on Saturday night in Los Angeles. USC extended their winning streak to five games with a 92-66 rout of Oregon State on Thursday and will look to avenge a December 30th loss at Oregon. This is a different team than the one who lost by 23 points earlier in the season, but that was without 6’11” power forward Bennie Boatwright, who missed two months with a knee injury but has quickly come into form. Boatwright has played three games since his return and has scored above his 13.2 average in each contest. Shaqquan Aaron is a force on the defensive side of the court, but could use some fine-tuning in his offensive game. He scored 21 points in Thursday’s blowout victory against visiting Oregon State and a season-high 23 points January 25th in a win over visiting UCLA, but combined for two points in the two road games in between. Jonah Mathews is another freshman for the Trojans whose getting better since the start of conference play, and he scored his season high of 18 points last weekend against Washington State.
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Oregon comes into this contest with a little motivation after blowing a 19-point first half lead to No. 9 UCLA and falling 82-79 to drop the Ducks into second place in the Pac-12 standings. Oregon has been getting solid efforts from Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey, who scored 19 points apiece against UCLA, but 6’10” senior forward Chris Boucher has struggled, failing to better his 12.2 scoring averaging in each of the last five games. Brooks scored his season high of 28 points in the last meeting against USC, shooting 9-for-10 from the floor and making all four of his 3-point attempts in 24 minutes. Junior forward Jordan Bell was a force underneath against UCLA and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds to up his average to 7.9. Oregon has plenty of offensive weapons led by Brooks, but the defense is underrated, ranking 34th in points allowed per game (64.2) and 22nd in field goal percentage defense (39.6).The Ducks will return home next week to host California and Utah as they try to keep pace with Arizona atop the Pac-12.
USC should be able to hang around with Oregon for a while, but the experience and talent of the Ducks will take over in the second half and pull away for the victory and cover.
Pick: Oregon -3.5