Reasons USC Basketball Will Make the Sweet 16

Ebony Scott
March 20, 2017

"The Trojans dropped their first game of the 2016 NCAA tournament to Providence, so revenge will definitely be on USC" s mind tonight.

Several key contributors in last year's first-round thriller are back for both USC and Providence.

The victor of Wednesday night's game will face No. 6 seed SMU (30-4) on Friday in Tulsa. The game is a rematch of an early-season contest between the two programs; USC won at the Galen Center 78-73.

USC erased Providence's big lead in only 14 minutes.

USC re-took the lead for good when Metu drilled a baseline jump shot, putting the Trojans ahead, 61-60, with six minutes to go. "I don't think Providence is athletic enough to stay with them", said James Steiner, sports producer at KABC in Los Angeles. Edwards scored Purdue's first eight points of the second half, helping the Boilermakers open a 45-38 lead. From the 15 to the 10 minute mark, USC went on a 13-5 run, led by stellar playmaking from Trojan point guard Jordan McLaughlin.

Providence was led by Emmitt Holt's 18 points in the loss. The Friars edged the Trojans 70-69 on Rodney Bullock's backdoor layup off an inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds remaining.

The comeback was Southern Cal's 12th this season of at last 10 points, the most in the nation. The Friars led that game at the half 30-27, but a cold start to the second half proved costly.

DID YOU KNOW: Last season's win over the Trojans was the first NCAA Tournament win for the Friars in 19 years. But USC Coach Andy Enfield rested him after the first television timeout, and he wouldn't return for about five minutes.

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It's hard to say, when they have yet to prove much on the national stage.but this year's Friar team deserves to be ranked with the best in school history just from the story of their journey (s) alone.

Here are five thoughts on the two teams. "They're big, they're long, they're very skilled".

"If Cartwright and Diallo have their typical games and McLaughlin and Stewart are off then it will be tough for the Trojans", said Steiner.

"We haven't shot the ball well, we practice it, we put them on the line under pressure, you have to hope that they go in", added Cooley.

Enfield credited his players for adapting to a bigger lineup in the second half, a change that helped shut down Providence's offense. "We got discouraged. We missed a lot of easy shots, and I thought it affected our energy on the defensive end". "There's only x-amount of adjustments you can make, you have to play your game". A 7-0 run padded the Friar lead to 13 as halftime loomed, and Providence led 44-29 by the time Enfield led his squad into the locker room, having been outscored 29-9 to close out the period.

A tip of the cap to the NIT selection committee, which accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of making one of its traditionally meaningless affairs - Syracuse vs. UNC-Greensboro, moved from Tuesday night to Wednesday night because of the snow - more intriguing than the NCAA Tournament game involving two 16 seeds being held at the same time.

UC Davis had an 11-2 run in the second half, and North Carolina Central was just 1 of 9 from the field during that stretch.

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