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No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Miami: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The USC Trojans and Miami Hurricanes meet at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The USC Trojans were given the No. 7 seed in the Midwest region, and they will get a matchup with No. 10 seed Miami Hurricanes on Friday, March 18th. This game will get started at 3:10 p.m. ET and can be seen on truTV with the Trojans as slight favorites.

No. 7 USC: 26-7 (14-6 Pac-12): At-large

KenPom rating: 42 Overall, 46 Offense, 49 Defense
NET ranking: 35, (4-4 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Isaiah Mobley (14.3 ppg)
Key stat: In addition to being the team’s leading scorer, Isaiah Mobley is second in the Pac-12 in rebounds per game.

The USC Trojans reached the Elite Eight last season as the No. 6 seed and while they took a rather advantageous route to get there, that’s still pretty impressive. Southern Cal ranks second in the Pac-12 in field goal and three-point percentage. In addition to their top player Isaiah Mobley, the Trojans have gotten a ton of production out of Drew Peterson, who is doing plenty of damage from behind the three-point line.

Watch for USC to attack the boards going up against a Miami defense that ranks dead last in the ACC in rebounding margin.

No. 10 Miami: 23-10 (14-6 ACC): At-large

KenPom rating: 60 Overall, 17 Offense, 155 Defense
NET ranking: 62 (4-3 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Kameron McGusty (17.6 ppg)
Key stat: Big man Sam Waardenburg is shooting 42.9% from three-point range this season.

As you can see by the numbers, Miami is all about offense with very little defense, and those types of teams are incredibly difficult to predict. Leading scorer Kameron McGusty shot at least 50% from the floor in five of his last six games and will need to play well for this team to go on a run.

Watch for Miami to go for the foul instead of giving up a layup if it’s close late in the game as USC shoot just 66.6% from the free throw line.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: USC -2
Point total: 139.5
Moneyline: USC -135, Miami +115

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: USC -2
Point total pick: Under 139.5
Pick to Win: USC

Neither team has been overly impressive this season, but I’m inclined to go with the team I trust more in this matchup, and that’s the Trojans especially with the rebounding edge they should have. Both teams rank in the bottom half of the country in possessions per game, so the under is a solid play as well.

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