It took a few years, but Andy Enfield has taken the USC Trojans to the NCAA Tournament. USC, which finished sixth in the Pac-12 regular season and sits at 21-12, was seeded eighth in the East Region. They face the Providence Friars out of the Big East, led by one of the top guards in college basketball: Kris Dunn. The nine-seed Friars finished fourth in the Big East, and beat Butler in the conference tournament before losing to Villanova. The winner of this super-close 8 vs. 9 game has a chance to play North Carolina, assuming the Tar Heels roll through the 16 seed.
Date: Thursday, March 17
Time: 8:50 p.m. E.T.
TV Channel: TBS
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Opening Betting Line: TBD
Prediction: The selection committee knew how to make almost impossible-to-pick 8 vs. 9 games this season, and this is definitely one. KenPom ranks Providence 46th, just three spots ahead of USC. The Trojans play a more up-tempo style and are more efficient offensively, while the Friars grade out better on defense. In a match-up this close, we’re going to go with the team with the best players. Kris Dunn is an excellent point guard, and Providence has gotten a huge season out of 6-foot-9 forward Ben Bentil, who averages over 21 points per game. We like the Friars to edge out the Trojans in this one.