#6 USC vs. #3 Kansas NCAA Tournament Round of 32

#6 USC vs. #3 Kansas NCAA Tournament Round of 32 | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 22, 2021

Third-seeded Kansas will get back one of its best players, redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson, from COVID protocols on Monday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but the Jayhawks are still slight underdogs on the NCAAB odds against No. 6 USC in West Region action.

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

  • When: Monday, 9:40 PM ET
  • Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
  • TV: CBS
  • Stream: https://www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: USC -1 (total 134.5)

Last Meeting

Kansas leads USC all-time 11-5 and has won the past seven in the series with the most recent being a 63-47 win on Dec. 22, 2011, in Los Angeles. KU-USC have met twice on neutral courts but you have to go back to the first two meetings for that – Dec. 20, 1953, in Kansas City, Kansas, a KU 34-31 win and March 23, 1940, in the NCAA Western Finals in Kansas City, Missouri, a KU 43-42 victory. USC’s last win was an 89-83 overtime victory in 1979, closing a run in which the Trojans won five of six meetings.

Why Bet on USC? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Led by 7-footer Evan Mobley, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, the Trojans (23-7) beat No. 11 Drake 72-56 in Round 1. Mobley, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, had 17 points and 11 rebounds. He made 7 of 15 field goals and blocked three shots. Evan’s older brother, sophomore forward Isaiah Mobley, scored 15 points.

Drew Peterson added 14 and Tahj Eaddy had a season-high 10 assists for USC, which improved to 20-0 this season when at least three Trojans score 10 or more points. Drake shot 29% overall against USC, including a dismal 19% in the second half.

USC won for the first time this season when being outrebounded (39-35), improving to 1-5. The 16-point victory was USC’s largest in the NCAA Tournament since defeating Boston College 72-55 in the first round of the 2009 Tournament.

USC’s 23-7 record is its best after 30 games since being 24-6 during the 1992 season.  The 23 wins are tied for the eighth most in school history. USC is 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Andy Enfield.

Evan Mobley became the first Pac-12 player to win all three awards in a single season and joined Anthony Davis of Kentucky (2011-12) as the only other major conference player to accomplish the feat. Mobley, who is averaging 16.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.0 blocks, is the only Division I player to be averaging at least 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0  assists.

USC has held its opponents to 39.0 percent shooting this season, best in the Pac-12 and 8th-best in the country. Stanford’s 51.9 percent shooting against USC on Feb. 2 and UCLA’s 51.0 percent on March 6 were the only two times this season a Trojan opponent shot over 50 percent.

Why Bet on Kansas? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Jayhawks played without redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson in Round 1 after he tested positive for COVID on March 12 and has been in isolation ever since, but he’s was to fly to Indianapolis this morning and rejoin the team. He’ll play Monday, but it might not be a lot.

“I don’t know how much he’ll play,” Self said. “He’s going to be rusty, he’s going to be fatigued and he’s going to be far less than 100%. But he can rebound the ball and do some things, so he may play three minutes, he may play 10 minutes, he may play 15. I don’t know.”

Wilson is averaging 12.1 points and a team-leading 8.2 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. He redshirted in the 2019-20 season after playing two games and then getting injured.

Fellow starter David McCormack also had tested positive but he was able to play 25 minutes in Saturday’s 93-84 win over No. 14 Eastern Washington as KU rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit. Kansas has now won 14 consecutive first-round games in the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Bill Self said the extra day of getting re-acclimated helped McCormack, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes during KU’s first-round victory. Self said Saturday that McCormack participated for about 70% of the time during Friday’s practice.

The Jayhawks were led by a team-high 23 points from senior Marcus Garrett, who led five Kansas players in double figures. Joining Garrett were McCormack, Ochai Agbaji (18), Dajuan Harris (13) and Christian Braun (12). It was the seventh time this season Kansas had five or more players in double-figures. The Jayhawks improved to 5-2 in those games.

KU has won four straight and nine of its last 10 contests. KU has won 21 or more games for 32 consecutive seasons. Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, this is the fifth time Kansas entered the event a No. 3 seed. KU was also a No. 3 seed in 1985, 1991, 2005 and 2009. The Jayhawks are 9-4 all-time as a No. 3 seed.

Game Trends

  • Trojans are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Trojans are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games as a favorite.
  • Trojans are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite.
  • Trojans are 17-8 ATS in their last 25 neutral site games.
  • Jayhawks are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win.
  • Jayhawks are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games following a ATS loss.
  • Jayhawks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games.

Expert NBA Prediction

USC 69, Kansas 68


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