USC Trojans (1-0) vs Cal State-Bakersfield Roadrunners (1-0)
2023-11-09 21:00:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: USC Trojans -26 -- Over/Under: 137
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The hardwood of the Galen Center is set to ignite with the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners squaring off against the 21st-ranked USC Trojans in a battle that could set early tones for the season. With both teams off to a flying start at 1-0, this game is an early litmus test. The Roadrunners, despite being the underdogs, are looking to build on their razor-thin 73-72 victory over the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, while the Trojans aim to fortify their home court following a dominant 82-69 win against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Cal State Bakersfield’s Balancing Act
Cal State Bakersfield enters the fray with a game under their belt that might have been too close for comfort. Their offense, producing 73 points in their opening game, is spearheaded by the electric senior guard Kaleb Higgins, who is not only the leading scorer after a 27-point performance but also a significant contributor across the board. His ability to find the net is matched by his vision, making him a dual threat. Yet, the Roadrunners can’t rely on Higgins’ firepower alone; they’ll need junior forward Modestas Kancleris and junior guard Marvin McGhee II, both adding eight points apiece, to diversify the attack and keep the Trojans’ defense guessing.
The Roadrunners’ defense barely edges out their offense, allowing 72 points in their first game. Here lies their challenge: to tighten up and contain a Trojan offense that has shown potency. In their previous showdown, they proved capable, albeit by a single point. The key will be in controlling the rebounds where McGhee, averaging six rebounds, must dominate the glass to limit USC’s second-chance points.
The Roadrunners know that victory hinges on a well-oiled defense and an offense that can share the scoring burden. They are strategic in their play, but the true test will be in maintaining composure when the Trojans turn up the heat.
USC’s High-Octane Offense
The USC Trojans come into this matchup with a clear offensive edge, racking up an impressive 82 points in their previous game. Senior guard Boogie Ellis stands as the linchpin of their offense, dropping 24 points with a 50.0 shooting percentage, and he’s just as effective off the ball, pulling down eight rebounds. His presence is complemented by freshman guard Isaiah Collier, who not only added 18 points to the scoreboard but also dished out six assists, making him a central figure in the Trojans’ offensive scheme.
However, the Trojans aren’t a one or two-man show; they exhibit depth with junior guard Kobe Johnson providing a 16-point punch and senior forward Joshua Morgan contributing 11 points. This depth is what makes the Trojans particularly dangerous, as it’s not just the starters who can score, but the bench can come in and keep the momentum going without missing a beat. Their 51.7 field goal percentage is a testament to their efficiency and a warning to any defense trying to lock them down.
Defensively, the Trojans seem to have a more robust structure compared to the Roadrunners, allowing 69 points to their opponents. Their defense isn’t just about preventing shots; it’s about creating offensive opportunities through eight steals and blocks per game. If they can maintain this defensive pressure, it could be a long night for Bakersfield’s scorers.
David’s Pick – USC Trojans (-26)
The Trojans are poised to use their home advantage and offensive firepower to take control of the game. With Ellis and Collier at the helm, the Trojans’ offensive machine looks too well-oiled for the Roadrunners’ defense to handle. Add to that the Trojans’ defensive hustle, and it becomes clear that Bakersfield will need more than just a solid game plan to triumph. USC’s offensive depth and efficiency are key indicators of their potential to not only win but also cover any reasonable spread. The Trojans are in a prime position to keep their record unblemished and build momentum. Expect USC to dictate the tempo and, unless Bakersfield can find a way to slow them down, to secure a decisive victory that cements their status as a powerhouse in the conference.