The 11th-seeded Providence Friars (20-12) take on the No. 11 seed USC Trojans (24-9) in an East Region “First Four” game. The game will be played at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton on Wednesday. Tip is at 9:10 p.m. E.T.
Preview: The Friars have won six of their last seven games to make the field of 68. They have eight wins over NCAA Tournament teams. Junior forward Rodney Bullock (15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and junior point guard Kyron Cartwright (6.7 apg) are two of the big guns for PC.
USC, meanwhile, started 14-0 before basically holding serve the rest of the way. The February return of forward Bennie Boatwright (14.6 ppg) has been a big help. Boatwright and 6-foot-11-inch Chimezie Metu (14.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) pace the Trojans.
Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 9:10 p.m. E.T.
TV Channel: truTV
Location: University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore, Ros Gold-Onwude
Opening Betting Line: USC -1, via OddsShark
This game is a rematch of last year's East Region First Round game, won by Providence, 70-69. The eighth-seeded Friars then fell to North Carolina in the Round of 32.
Providence has now made four straight NCAA Tournaments, and 19 in program history.
USC has made 18 trips to the Big Dance.
Prediction: It is always fun to see teams face off in the tournament in consecutive years, though it doesn't happen often. Providence's resume is stronger than USC's, but the Trojans have played in one of the top two leagues in the country and have beaten UCLA.
This game is essentially a toss-up, but we see last year's result getting reversed. USC wins.