Two power conference teams moving in opposite directions get on the floor this Monday for a spot in the Sweet 16 when the No. 6 USC Trojans face the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks in what should be a classic to cap the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Game date: Sunday, March 22
Game time: 9:40 p.m.
TV channel: CBS
Location: Hinkle FIeldhouse
Spread: Pick ‘em
Moneyline: USC -109, Kansas -109
No. 6 USC 23-7 (15-5 Pac-12)
First round result: Defeated No. 11 Drake 72-56
KenPom rating: 12 Overall, 27 Offense, 14 Defense
Leading scorer: Evan Mobley, 16.8 ppg
Key stat: USC’s defense holds opponents to just 45.4% eFG, good for 11th in America.
The Trojans had little difficulty with the MVC’s Bulldogs, pulling away late behind a 17 point, 11 rebound performance from Mobley. USC shot 50% from the floor, and held Drake to 29.4%.
The Men of Troy tend to play inside out, but will need to shoot better than their 6-18 from three-point range today if they’re to knock off KU.
No. 3 Kansas 21-8 (12-6 Big 12)
First round result: Defeated No. 14 Eastern Washington 93-84
KenPom rating: 19 Overall, 47 Offense, 7 Defense
Leading scorer: Ochai Agbaji, 14.2 ppg
Key stat: Kansas shoots just 34% from three-point range as a team, but has the 47th-best adjusted offense in the NCAA.
The Jayhawks were behind as many as 10 in the second half, but pulled away for a win by locking in defensively late. They needed a big game from David McCormack, who just joined the team yesterday after missing the Big 12 tournament due to a failed COVID-19 test. He was huge off the bench today with 22 points in 25 minutes, and KU will need all of him against a better opponent if they want to make the second weekend in the bubble.
The matchup of McCormack and Mobley will be a big one for both fans and NBA scouts. KU isn’t playing their best basketball as of right now, and USC seems to be in a rhythm of late. The bettors might agree.