Free Picks: Can USC Crack Gonzaga’s Code?

Josh Saslove
Josh Saslove
College Basketball Free Picks
USC vs Gonzaga Elite 8
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs USC Trojans, NCAAB, Lucas Oil Stadium

Tuesday’s match-up between Gonzaga and USC will be the ultimate test as it is the best interior offense against the best interior defense. Gonzaga has not been played to single digits since December 2nd, they have rolled absolutely everyone they have played, however this is their worst match-up of the season. The Trojans are hot and have lots of size, which could give Gonzaga some trouble and add some drama to what has been a relaxed March for the Zags.

The Battle Inside The Arc

Over their last 10 games USC is holding opponents to 39.7% inside the arc. The Trojans have four starters that are 6’7 or taller and six of their eight rotation players are also north of 6’7. It will be a tall task for Gonzaga to score inside. USC has run through March, winning every game by double digits and handedly at that. Gonzaga is the best team in the country and there is not a single doubt about that, but this game will really test the Bulldogs as they are in a match-up nightmare.

USC’s interior defense will show up and they will make it ugly down-low, but their perimeter defense needs to be elevated. During the NCAA Tournament they have been great holding opponents to 26%, which is phenomenal, but prior to that they struggled a lot and could get picked apart by Gonzaga’s elite ball movement. They will need to move well laterally and stay in front of shooters, so as to not give the Bulldogs easy opportunities to score.

NCAAB odds have set Gonzaga’s team total at 81.5, which for Gonzaga is very low. They have scored 82 or more points in all but 3 games this season. However, if there was ever a team that could hold them in the 70s. It is USC, one of my free picks is under 81.5 for Gonzaga (-116 10Bet).

Offensively speaking USC has been incredibly efficient from the perimeter, shooting 51% from three during the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans shoot 36.3% on the season from deep, but the quick turnaround should help the Trojans as they will hopefully stay in rhythm. One reason as to why the Trojans have been so great from downtown is their offensive rebounding, USC grabs 35.4% of their possible offensive rebounds. They will need to crash the glass and get these second chance points in order to keep it close against Gonzaga.

My BetPicks best bet will be USC’s spread, as I see this game ending in single digits, so getting 9.5 points is great value in a game, which should be an offensive struggle.


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  • Gonzaga is 15-12-2 ATS as favourites this season
  • The Over has cashed in 15 of Gonzaga’s 29 games this season
  • USC is 19-13-0 ATS this season
  • The Over has cashed in 17 of USC’s 32 games this season

Josh Saslove here, I am a passionate sports fan and have been consumed by sports for as long as I can remember. I have been a sports bettor for the past 4 years, starting out with betting on college basketball parlays. I currently write pieces for BetPicks, but have my own blog space. I am an avid fan of the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Raptors, Kansas City Chiefs and Toronto Blue Jays, so I know what it's like to cheer for the underdog. The 2017 ECF run by the Ottawa Senators and the Raptors 2019 NBA title are probably my fondest memories as a fan, as well of course the Chiefs Super Bowl win in 2020. I am also a big music fan and have been called Mac Miller by strangers on several occasions.