USC and Gonzaga meet on a neutral floor in Las Vegas, Nevada in an early season Saturday night showcase.
Gonzaga is as potent as usual on offense, but are still looking for some perimeter success this season while the team faces an upstart USC team that has been stout on defense, especially on the interior. Who has the edge in Las Vegas on Saturday night?
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USC vs. Gonzaga Odds, Spread and Total
Gonzaga vs. USC How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 2
- Game Time: 10:00 p.m. EST
- Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena
- How to Watch (TV): ESPN
- USC Record: 5-2
- Gonzaga Record: 5-1
USC vs. Gonzaga Key Players to Watch
Isaiah Collier: The freshman is rising up NBA Draft boards and it's not hard to see why. At 6'5", he has poured in nearly 18 points per game on 53% shooting from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. He draws a Gonzaga defense that doesn't pressure the ball much and play at a frenetic tempo, so Collier may be in line for another big outing.
Andrew Nembhard: USC does a great job at limiting transition opportunities, but Nembhard only knows how to play fast. The Zags play quick and run an inventive motion scheme that looks to create driving lanes. However, USC has a ton of size on the interior, 20th in defending at the rim, can that slow down Gonzaga's offense?
USC vs. Gonzaga Prediction and Pick
Gonzaga's offense will always be near the top in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency metric, but it's been a slower than expected start for Mark Few's lofty standards, 17th through the early part of the season. However, there is plenty of underlying metrics pointing in the Zags trending up on that side of the ball.
ShotQuality states that the Bulldogs are are due about a 4% three-point bump given its shot profile, which would be a huge swoon in this matchup against USC's lockdown interior defense. Gonzaga is shooting only 30% from beyond the arc this season and the Trojans are also riding on shot variance from the perimeter, due a 3% rise in opponent 3P%.
On defense, the Trojans are great at defending inside, which is where Gonzaga likes to do its damage (58% of the team's points comes from two's), but the team is 240th in defensive rebounding percentage. Gonzaga has been great at generating second chances, 20th in the country in offensive rebounding rate around big man Graham Ike. The Bulldogs may be able to push the pace here and win on the extras.
Further, USC lacks a ton of shot making outside of Collier, and is due a 3% drop from beyond the arc, per SQ. While the Bulldogs won't expose USC's ball handling woes (242nd in turnover percentage), the team may not keep up with the team's looming shot regression.
USC has plenty of talent but is due for a step back on both sides of the ball while Gonzaga, who has played a far tougher schedule (11th in Haslametrics strength of schedule), can pull away and cover the two possession spread.