Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans – March Madness Sweet Sixteen (2021)
For the second time of the season, the Ducks and Trojans will battle on the hardwood. It’s safe to say that round two has slightly bigger implications.
With the winner almost certain to face Gonzaga in the Elite 8, the question isn’t which of these Pac-12 schools has a better shot at defeating the Bulldogs. They’ve got to get past each other first, which is where this Sweet 16 prediction post comes in.
Let’s do some digging before locking in an Oregon vs. USC pick.
Oregon vs. USC Odds and Key Info
- When: 9:45 pm EDT, 3/28/2021
- Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN
- Coverage: TBS
- Line: USC -1.5
- Money Line: USC -130, Oregon +110
- Total: 138
Assessing Oregon’s Chances
Since dropping a game to the Trojans on February 22nd, the Ducks are 8-1 and averaging 82 points per game. Oregon caught a break by winding up with a bye in the opening round, although their dominating outing against Iowa confirms that they deserve to be here.
We keep hearing about how terrific the Pac-12 has been in the tournament, so let’s take a closer look at the Pac-12 regular-season champs.
Oregon led their conference in FG %, 3PT %, and turnover margin. Talk about a program on the West Coast that is no stranger to the second week of the dance; 2021 marks the fifth time Dana Altman has led the quackers to the Sweet 16. Seeking their third trip to the Elite 8 since 2016, Altman can rely on a group that is loaded with experience.
Three seniors and a pair of juniors make up the starting five – each guy averages in double-figures and plays at least 30 minutes per game. Chris Duarte is one of the best perimeter players in the country – he can shoot, pass, slash, and play defense. Duarte’s brilliant at moving without the ball and finding open lanes, as demonstrated below.
CHRIS DUARTE DROPS THE HAMMER 🔨 pic.twitter.com/POkHXFYysJ— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 22, 2021
I’ll remind those betting on Oregon vs. USC that the Ducks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
Assessing USC’s Chances
With the line bouncing around between 1.5 and 2 points at all of the top March Madness sportsbooks, USC figures to have the slight edge on Sunday evening. But is their edge really that slight?
Oregon and USC both possess a whole bunch of firepower on offense; we saw that first-hand in the round of 32. The difference is that the Ducks surrendered 80 points; the Trojans held Kansas to 51.
Bill Self had to stick his tail between his legs by the first TV Timeout as the Jayhawks suffered one of their most lopsided losses in program history.
USC limits opponents to just 38.7% from the field (1st in the Pac-12) and ranks 6th in the country in blocked shots/game. Evan Mobley isn’t just the best player remaining in the bracket; he’s the most versatile and well-rounded prospect in all of college basketball. His older brother’s not too shabby either – Isaiah is averaging 16 ppg, 6.5 rbg, 3 apg in the tourney.
This squad doesn’t need to shoot the lights out or do anything out of the ordinary to beat the Ducks.
I’ll expand more on that theory in the final segment.
Oregon vs. USC Prediction and Pick
If you’re torn on an Oregon vs. USC prediction, perhaps the following tidbits will lend a helping hand.
The Trojans pummeled the Ducks last month in La La Land. USC opened up a 21-point lead at halftime and cruised the rest of the way, but that’s not all. Evan Mobley only scored 11 points. He only grabbed 5 rebounds, he didn’t block a shot, and his older brother Isaiah didn’t even suit up.
And it gets better.
Oregon shot 41.2% from three that night and was +6 in the turnover battle. The fact that Andy Enfield’s bunch still controlled the scoreboard from start to finish has to be worrisome for the Ducks.
Look for Southern Cal to march on and give Gonzaga a bunch of fits next weekend.