By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The No. 22 Southern California Trojans take on the Miami (Florida) Hurricanes on Friday. The game will tip-off at 3:30 pm in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region first-round contest at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Trojans bring a 26-7 record into the contest. The Hurricanes, who are the underdogs in the contest, have a 23-10 record.
The sports betting experts have the game neck-and-neck. The Trojans currently have the odds of a two-point favorite.
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USC is one win away from becoming the winningest team in a season at 27. The Trojans; however, have lost three of their last four games.
“We won a lot of close games this year,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. “I really credit our players for learning how to win on the road, especially tight games. We hope that carries over to the NCAA Tournament.”
The Hurricanes are coming into this game with a hot streak. The team has won seven of their last 10 games.
“We’ve run into some walls,” Hurricanes guard Kameron McGusty said. “We’ve faced adversity and we’ve seen what we’re made of. We’re so locked in and we’ve grown so much as a group and we look to continue to grow and take it to the tournament.”
Both teams have been road warriors this season. The Hurricanes have gone 10-2 on the road, while the Trojans have gone 9-3.
With neutral site games included, Miami is 13-5. USC is 13-4.
USC has won the previous two meetings in the series. They won the first game in 1990 then won the second game in 1992.
The winner of this game will be right back in action on Sunday. The winning team will face either the No. 2 Auburn Tigers or the No. 15 Jacksonville State Gamecocks.
The Hurricanes’ offense is scoring 74.8 points per game. Their defense is allowing 71 points per contest.
Despite the 74.8 points per game average, Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga is worried about not being as physical as the other teams in the tournament.
“Every chance we get to regroup and generate some more energy, the better off we are,” Larranaga said.
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The Trojans are scoring 72.6 points per game. Their defensive unit is allowing 65.9.
McGusty is one of two Hurricanes that have scored over 500 points on the season. He is leading the team with 17.6 points per game, while Isaiah Wong, who scored 501 points, is shortly behind at 15.2 points.
Isaiah Mobley leads the Trojans at 14.3 points per game. Mobley has scored 442 points on the season.
Boogie Ellis is coming off a career-high 27 points in the Pac-12 Conference game last week on March 11th. Ellis, who has scored 410 points on the season, is averaging 12.8 per game.
“It should be a good matchup,” Mobley said. “I don’t think any game should be a cakewalk.”
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