No. 24 USC will try to extend its unbeaten start to the season and win the Wooden Legacy event when it faces San Diego State on Friday night. The Trojanspicked up their fifth-straight victory with a win over St. Joseph’s on Thursday. San Diego Statehas won four of its first five games, including a 73-56 win over Georgetown in the other semifinal.
Trojans with massive height advantageNo. 24 USC is off to an excellent start this season. It took care of business in its first four games coming into this event—the momentum led to a 70-55 blowout over St. Joseph’s on Thursday night. The Trojans took the lead less than four minutes into the game and nearly led wire-to-wire. They are ranked No. 29 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings. One of their strengths has been turnover rate, as they rank sixth nationally in turnover percentage.
They are going to face a San Diego State defense that is No. 14 in adjusted efficiency. Guard Boogie Ellis leads the team with 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Ellis is knocking down 45.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc. Forward Chevez Goodwin is scoring 13.8 points and is pulling down 8.0 rebounds per game. Forward Isaiah Mobley is averaging 11.0 points and a team-high 8.6 boards. USC is one of the tallest teams in the country, ranked fourth in average height.
Aztecs coming off hot-shooting game against HoyasSan Diego State will have plenty of confidence entering this game, despite being a small underdog. The Aztecs won three of their first four games, with the lone loss coming at BYU two weeks ago. They bounced back with wins over Arizona State and UT Arlington, but they did not cover the spread in either of those games. San Diego State put together probably its best performance of the season on Thursday, blowing out Georgetown in a 73-56 final.
The Aztecs shot 48.3% from the floor, including a 43.8% mark from the 3-point line. They are not nearly as good offensively as defensively, ranked No. 86 in adjusted offensive efficiency. San Diego State is No. 242 nationally in effective field goal percentage. It will be facing a USC defense that is No. 20 in adjusted efficiency. Guard Matt Bradley leads the team with 15.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. Forward Nathan Mensah and guard Trey Pulliam are both scoring 9.8 points per game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is the type of game that is completely in USC’s hands. The Trojans have more talent, height and momentum than San Diego State. They can roll to a win if they play at their best level against an opponent that simply won’t be able to keep pace. USC is the better team on both ends of the court and it has done a better job of taking care of the ball so far this season. I love the way the Trojans are playing and I think they will take the championship on Friday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Wooden Legacy is full of teams that like to play at a quick pace, as the other semifinal also features two up-tempo offenses. However, I like the under in this game. USC and San Diego State are both inside the top 20 of KenPom’s defensive rankings. They force their opponents into tough shots on nearly every possession—I think that defensive intensity will be very high with a championship on the line. San Diego State is only shooting 28.2% from beyond the arc, so the under looks like a solid play here.