East Region: No. 11 USC Trojans (26-9) vs. The USC Trojans have won six of their last seven games on neutral sites.
For one thing, the Trojans are hot.
INDIANAPOLIS – Wichita State’s high-flying offense didn’t get off the ground until the closing minutes, when the Shockers played like the more tournament-experienced team and pulled away from Dayton.
While struggling against the Trojans’ zone, only two SMU players – Semi Ojeleye and Sterling Brown – scored in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Milton, the Mustangs’ savvy point guard from Owasso, missed a potential winning shot at the buzzer Friday afternoon, sealing a dramatic 66-65 upset by No. 11 seed USC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. USC is 206th in the country in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score 73.1 points per game. The Trojans shoot 36.3 percent from 3-point range, led by the duo of Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart. BU ranks third nationally in percentage of offensive rebounds off missed shots. “Now they’re healthy and they’re back to being one of the best in the country”. Baylor held the Aggies to 37 percent shooting in the second half. It will be a tough team for Scott Drew to game plan for.
Baylor’s players are hoping a deep NCAA Tournament run can help improve the school’s reputation amid a sexual assault scandal that sparked a federal lawsuit and prompted the university to fire its football coach and demote its president.
Even though they fell behind by as many as 12 points and went into half time trailing by eight, USC surged back in the second half.
It doesn’t have any of the underdog charm of Dunk City, but USC is nevertheless delivering another thrilling March Madness trip for coach Andy Enfield, who guided Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 in 2013 and now has the Trojans off the bubble and into the weekend. “Everybody’s goal is to get to the championship game and to win it”.
The Bears clearly didn’t want to repeat recent history. But a dominant second half pushed Baylor to an easy win, and showed the full capacity of this team when it’s playing to its potential. “They started out the year undefeated and they had some injuries like we did, and then they finished strong”.
To avoid an early hole, USC needs to bust Baylor’s zone early. But the second-round contest presents plenty of appeal in the teams’ similarities. The Trojans aren’t loaded with talent to where they can expect to let their skills take over, so instead Enfield has had to tap into something else: fearlessness.
Isaiah Hicks added 17 points and Kennedy Meeks had 13 for the Tar Heels, who are a No. 1 regional seed for an NCAA-record 16th time.