College Basketball Handicapping Selections: California Golden Bears at USC Trojans

California Golden Bears at Southern California Trojans
Galen Center – Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: California -8
Current Line: California -7 1/2
Opening Total: 148 1/2
Current Total: 145 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cal -330 / USC +270
Current Money Line: Cal -350 / USC +290

California is a 7.5 point favorite at USC Wednesday night.

California is a 7.5 point favorite at USC Wednesday night.

The 14-4 California Golden Bears and 9-9 Southern California Trojans are at opposite ends of the Pac 12 standings. The 5-0 Golden Bears are tied with Arizona for first place in the conference.  Meanwhile, the Trojans are alone in last place with an 0-5 record. USC will look for the upset for their first conference win as the two teams meet Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Cal leads the series 131-130 against USC. The Golden bears have won four straight games against the Trojans and the last three in the Galen Center between the teams. Cal beat USC in LA last season 72-64 and in Berkeley 76-68. The two schools will play in Berekeley February 23.

California is coached by Mike Montgomery. The Golden Bears have losses to Syracuse and Dayton in the Maui Invitational, at UC-Santa Barbara and at Creighton. Cal has key wins over Oakland, Minnesota in Maui, UC-Irvine, Fresno State, Nevada, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State, Washington and Washington State 76-55 Saturday. The Golden Bears have won 6 straight games. Cal is 10-7 ATS and the total is 7-10 this season.

California is outscoring teams 77-67 this season. The Golden Bears are shooting 47.5% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. Cal makes 69.3% from the free throw line. Golden Bear opponents are shooting 40.3% from the field and 34.8% from 3 point range. Cal averages 37.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.6 per game. The Golden Bears average 15.8 assists, 10.8 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 11 assists, 10.8 turnovers, 4.6 steals, and 3.4 blocks per game.

Cal guard Justin Cobbs averages 14.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. Forward Richard Solomon averages 12.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game.Guard Tyrone Wallace averages 12 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.  Forward David Kravish averages 11.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.  Guard Jabari Bird averages 10.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Jordan Mathews averages 8.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.  Guard Ricky Kreklow averages 6.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. He is out until late January with a broken hand.

USC is coached by Andy Enfield. The Trojans have losses at Utah State, Villanova and Wake Forest in a tournament in the Bahamas, at Long Beach State, at UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, at Utah and at Colorado 83-62 Saturday. USC has lost 5 straight games to open conference play. The Trojans have key wins over CS-Northridge, CS-Fullerton, Xavier in the Bahamas, Boston College, CS-Bakersfield, and at Dayton. USC is 6-9-1 ATS and the total is 9-6 this season.

USC is being outscored 75-72 this season. The Trojans are shooting 44.7% from the field and 29.8% from 3 point range. USC is #326 out of 351 teams in three point shooting. The Trojans are #317 in free throw shooting at 64.8% from the line. USC opponents are shooting 42.9% from the field and 32.1% from 3 point range. The Trojans average 38.6 rebounds per game and allow 33.1 per game. USC averages 13.9 points, 14.3 turnovers, 5.5 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 15.3 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 4 blocks per game.

Guard Byron Wesley averages 16.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Guard J.T. Terrell averages 10.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1 assist per game. Guard Pe’shon Howard averages 9.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Center Omar Oraby averages 8.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. Forward Nikola Jovanovic averages 8.6 points, and 5 rebounds per game. Guard Julian Jacobs averages 7.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Roschon Prince, D.J. Haley and Chass Bryan will also get significant minutes in the rotation.

California is 6-0 ATS overall, 5-0 after a win, after a cover, and against Pac 12 teams, 7-2 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, and 2-9 in Wednesday games. The over is 15-5-1 in this series recently including 6-2 in Los Angeles. The road team is 3-0-1 in this series recently.

USC is 3-1-2 ATS against teams with losing road records, 20-41-4 overall, 13-27-2 at home, 2-5 after a straight up loss of more than 20 points, 11-29-2 against Pac 12 teams, 0-5 against teams with winning records, 0-4 after a straight up loss and after failing to cover. USC is 8-3-1 ATS in the last 12 against Cal.

Cal holds the edge against USC in all the major categories except for rebounding. Even that is a slim edge fro the Trojans. The Trojans sometimes struggle on defense. Cal should win this game handily.

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