Kansas and USC will meet Monday on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with a gap withinside the Sweet sixteen at the line. The Jayhawks, seeded 1/3 withinside the West Region, are scheduled to play the No. 6-seed Trojans at 9:forty p.m. ET March 22 on CBS. Several on-line streaming offerings bring the channel and provide loose trials.
The 2nd spherical of the 2021 NCAA Tournament closes out with what will be an epic duel among the 1/3-seeded Kansas Jayhawks and the No. 6 Southern California Trojans on Monday night time at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Both groups play protective patterns and feature athletic massive men, with 7-foot freshman Evan Mobley main USC and 6-10 junior David McCormack a big piece for Kansas. The Trojans (23-7) cruised to a 72-fifty six victory in opposition to Drake withinside the first spherical, at the same time as the Jayhawks (21-eight) struggled earlier than placing away Eastern Washington 93-eighty four on Saturday.
Kansas ended the normal season gambling well, with a late-season stretch that covered an dissatisfied of formerly unbeaten Baylor. Then effective coronavirus instances pressured the Jayhawks to withdraw from the Big 12 Tournament, and that they wished all forty mins to fend off No. 14-seed Eastern Washington withinside the first spherical.
So can educate Bill Self assist his crew locate its groove in time to conquer USC? The Trojans, led through brothers Evan and Isaiah Mobley, earned a 72-fifty six win over No. 11-seed Drake on Saturday to enhance to the Round of 32.
Evan, the more youthful Mobley brother, is a freshman broadly taken into consideration to be a pinnacle NBA Draft prospect. Though he led the Trojans with sixteen.eight factors in step with recreation at the season, it’s his protection — and his three blocks in step with contest — that has scouts salivating.
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Tip-off is about for 9:forty p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Trojans as one-factor favorites in its cutting-edge USC vs. Kansas odds, at the same time as the over-below for overall factors scored is about at one hundred thirty five. Before finalizing any Kansas vs. USC picks
USC vs. Kansas unfold: Trojans -1
USC vs. Kansas over-below: one hundred thirty five factors
USC vs. Kansas cash line: Trojans -115, Jayhawks -105
USC: G Drew Peterson has hit 54.five percentage on three-suggestions over the last six games
KU: G Marcus Garrett has gotten 111 of his 127 rebounds (87.four percentage) at the protective stop
Why USC can cowl
Evan Mobley has been dominating all season for USC, that is 17-thirteen in opposition to the unfold average. He protects the rim, swatting away 3 pictures in step with recreation and is a pressure internal on offense, scoring sixteen.eight factors. McCormack can have his palms complete with the Pac-12’s Freshman, Defensive and average Player of the Year, who additionally pulls down eight.7 rebounds in step with contest. His presence is a massive motive the Trojans maintain combatants to 39 percentage capturing (8th in NCAA) and 64.eight factors (45th).
The Trojans are 9-7 ATS this season with same rest, and that they rank 5th withinside the kingdom with five.three blocked pictures in step with recreation. Isaiah Mobley, Evan’s older brother, blocks one in step with contest and receives 7.three forums as USC averages nearly 39 in step with recreation (twenty fifth in Division I). The Mobley brothers blended for 32 factors, sixteen rebounds and 4 blocks Saturday. Guards Tahj Eaddy (thirteen.five factors) and Drew Peterson (10) preserve defenses from collapsing internal, combining to hit ninety of 236 tries from 3-factor variety (38.1 percentage).
Why Kansas can cowl
Kansas is 7-2-1 in opposition to the unfold in its beyond 10 games, and McCormack and Ochai Agbaji are each fantastic -manner players. They blended for forty three factors regardless of McCormack coming off the bench Saturday after a effective COVID test, and that they crew up for extra than 28 factors, nearly 10 rebounds and 3 assists in step with recreation. Agbaji is the number one outdoor shooter, hitting 38.five percentage on 2 hundred three-factor tries, at the same time as McCormack does his paintings withinside the paint.
The Jayhawks are 7-three-1 in opposition to the unfold this season on same rest, and additionally they play sturdy protection. They surrender 66.four factors in step with recreation (1/3 in Big 12), and shield Marcus Garrett changed into a unanimous Big 12 All-Defensive Team choice. Kansas averages seven steals, with Garrett taking the ball away a crew-excessive 1.6 instances at the same time as additionally main the crew in assists (three.eight). The Trojans are an abysmal loose-throw capturing crew, rating 320th withinside the kingdom (64.four percentage), at the same time as 3 Kansas starters shoot higher than eighty percentage from the line.
Before each KU men’s basketball recreation, Jesse Newell previews the Jayhawks’ upcoming opponent with a scouting file and prediction.
Monday’s recreation: No. three seed Kansas vs. No. 6 seed USC, eight:forty p.m., Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Point unfold: USC through 1.
All records from KenPom.com, Hoop-Math.com and Synergy Sports Technology. KenPom stats additionally best encompass Division I competition.
Rim protection: USC, which ranks 2nd in common peak in step with KenPom’s measure, is fantastic at proscribing pictures on the rim (twenty ninth nationally) and additionally proscribing accuracy on the ones tries (8th nationally).
Extra chances: The Trojans rank thirteenth in offensive rebounding percent, at the same time as additionally enhancing their numbers there for the duration of Pac-12 play.
Foul avoidance: USC has a unprecedented aggregate defensively; it’s 18th in block charge however additionally twenty sixth in protective loose throw charge, that means it does a terrific task of tough internal with out fouling.
Defensive pressure: Much like Eastern Washington, USC performs a passive protective fashion, score 267th in protective turnover percent and 311th in protective scouse borrow charge.
Three-factor frequency: The Trojans could make threes — they’ve shot 35% there for the season — however they simply don’t shoot a lot of them, rating 308th in 3-factor charge.
Free throw capturing: USC does a terrific task of having to the line, however it has made best 65% of its pictures there (328th nationally); additionally, best one rotation participant (Tahj Eaddy) is capturing higher than 70% on freebies.
PLAYER TO WATCH
7-foot ahead Evan Mobley (No. four)
Plus: Ranks 5th on KenPom’s countrywide participant of the yr rating and is also Pac-12’s first-rate participant
Plus: Go-to man offensively with fantastic performance
Plus: Elite shot-blocker who averages best 2.1 fouls in step with forty mins
Plus: Outstanding finisher on the rim
Plus: Dangerous scorer in transition
Plus: Has top face-up recreation and is above-common from mid-variety with an cappotential to hit threes too
Minus: Probably ought to nonetheless stand to be even a hint extra competitive on offense given his sturdy performance numbers
Minus: Struggles to attain in conventional post-up situations in which he ranks withinside the twentieth percentile performance-wise, in step with Synergy
As expected on Selection Sunday, KU’s “unlucky” draw withinside the 2nd spherical resulted withinside the crew being a 1-factor underdog in its spherical of 32 contest.
USC — the predictive numbers could inform us — is darned top. The Trojans close down almost each feasible road for his or her combatants to get smooth baskets through getting returned in transition, proscribing dribble drives to the rim, heading off fouls and additionally doing a stable task at the protective glass.
The Trojans are much less magnificent offensively however nonetheless lots top. On that stop they don’t have first rate shot choice however permit their athleticism play up, crashing the offensive glass difficult and getting sufficient whistles to make up for average negative loose-throw capturing.
In a abnormal manner, I don’t hate the real matchup for KU offensively. The Jayhawks have struggled all season to get smooth baskets … and, well, USC probable wasn’t giving the ones up anyway. This Jayhawks crew additionally has been negative in transition however that shouldn’t count tons either, because the Trojans had been going to have that component blanketed regardless.
KU, in different words, shouldn’t ought to shift the way it performs too tons. Over the second one 1/2 of of the season, the Jayhawks have mainly attempted to play the shot quantity recreation offensively, counting on a mixture of low turnovers, offensive rebounding and 3-factor hopes to attempt to maximize their ceiling on that stop.
Nothing must extrade right here. KU must shoot quite a few threes, paintings to now no longer over-pressure and additionally try to out-hard USC at the forums a good way to rating correctly in opposition to a protection that doesn’t come up with near ones.
Defensively, the Jayhawks’ cognizance needs to be on Evan Mobley (his brother Isaiah is a ahead at the crew as well). The projected pinnacle- choose on this yr’s NBA Draft is extremely fluid for a 7-footer, capable of harm groups at specific instances as a roller, cutter, shooter, rebounder or even ball-handler. It’s a hard matchup for David McCormack — or virtually each person on KU’s roster, given Mobley’s talent.
USC isn’t invincible, though. It’s mainly going to attain at a time, and it probable won’t be triumphant at drawing fouls adore it generally does in opposition to KU, which does a very good task of heading off whistles in its personal right.
This must be a terrific recreation among lightly matched groups. My mild lean right here is going to KU, however, at the same time as believing the Jayhawks will preserve their turnovers low and make a few outdoor pictures at the same time as now no longer having to extrade their offensive fashion for this precise opponent.
Jesse’s choose to cowl unfold: Kansas
HAWK TO ROCK
Move the ball a chunk with drives and brief passes, and you could get a excessive range of assisted spot-up 3 tries in opposition to USC’s protection. The Jayhawks nonetheless will want a person to knock the ones down … so Ochai Agbaji, that is your night time. The shield has been KU’s first-rate on spot-ups all season, and if he’s hitting Monday, KU would possibly simply locate itself withinside the Sweet sixteen.