UConn vs. USC

UConn vs. USC | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on December 3, 2020

A few games involving ranked college basketball teams were canceled for Thursday night, so the marquee matchup is probably Connecticut against Southern California in the Legends Classic with both teams unbeaten. The Huskies are favored on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Connecticut vs. USC NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 7 PM ET
  • Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: UConn -1 (total 141.5)

Series History

First-ever meeting.

Why Bet on Connecticut? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

UConn was actually supposed to play Vanderbilt on Tuesday in the Roman Legends Classic but that was canceled because the Commodores pulled out of “Bubbleville.” Villanova and Hartford played that time slot Tuesday. The Legends Classic was supposed to feature a semifinal and final round, however the event will now simply become a “showcase” with another game Thursday after the UConn-USC affair.

The Huskies (2-0) last took the floor on Friday at home and beat Hartford 69-57. James Bouknight led the way with 18 points and four rebounds while Jalen Gaffney added 15 points of his own, which was a new career-high. R.J. Cole and Isaiah Whaley each chipped in 10 points to round out the quartet of double-digit scorers.

The Huskies held the Hawks to 32 percent shooting, including 26.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc.  UConn turned it over only 12 times and outscored UHart 38-22 in the paint.

It was the debut of Tyrese Martin in a UConn uniform and he did not disappoint, scoring six points on 3-4 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and three assists.  Whaley also hauled in 10 boards and blocked five shots for the Huskies. He is a transfer from Rhode Island but was suspended for the season opener. Last year, Whaley started all 30 games for 21-9 URI, averaging 12.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and shot .433 overall with five double-doubles.

“Tyrese for his first game out had a good physical presence,” Coach Dan Hurley said. “The ability to help on the backboard and steal some baskets with his athletic ability. Just a big athletic player that if the NCAA had suspended him for two games, this might’ve been a close game at the end. He was a difference maker and he played 25 minutes. We’ve got some things we have to coach him up on, but those minutes may be increased moving forward.”

Bouknight has been named to the Top 50 preseason watch list for the prestigious John R. Wooden Award, which encompasses the Wooden Award All-American Team, as well as the Most Outstanding Player Award. He also a candidate for the Naismith Trophy Award and the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award. Bouknight is averaging 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and shooting .519 overall. He is UConn’s leading returning scorer from last season (13.0).

Over the last eight seasons plus this year, UConn owns an overall record of 71-32 in regular-season, non-conference games.

Why Bet on USC? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Trojans (3-0) did play in this event Tuesday and looked terrific in a 79-53 victory. Drew Peterson scored 19 points, and brothers Evan Mobley and Isaiah Mobley each had a double-double.

USC trailed 18-17 before scoring 14 of the next 16 points, including a 10-0 run to close the half, for a 31-20 lead. Peterson, a Rice transfer, scored 13 points in the half. BYU made just one of its final 19 shots of the half and finished 9 of 37 (24.3%), including 2 of 16 from 3-point range. Peterson made two 3-pointers in the opening six minutes of the second half, during an 18-5 run, as USC built a 24-point lead.

Evan Mobley had 17 points and 11 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double and Isaiah Mobley added 11 points and 11 boards for USC. Tahj Eaddy, a grad transfer from Southeast Missouri State, chipped in with 16 points.

Evan Mobley was the 2020 Morgan Wooten High School Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American and a two-time California Gatorade Player of the Year. He signed with USC as the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruit, the first time that USC men’s basketball landed the top-ranked signee.

In the first three games of his collegiate career, Mobley is averaging a team-leading 16.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Mobley has been racking up the preseason honors being named to the NABC Player of the Year Watch List, the Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List and to the Pac-12 Media All-Conference First Team.

USC entered this season having won 109 games over the last five seasons, the winningest five-year stretch in school history. However, eight of the 11 Trojans to score a point in the 2019-20 season are no longer on the roster.

Expert Prediction

  • USC 72, UConn 70

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