The NCAA Tournament Miami vs USC matchup looks like it could go either way with the Trojans a slight -2 point favorite Friday afternoon (3:10 PM ET, truTV). Both squads have wins over teams that had gotten to #2 in the nation, with the Hurricanes beating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium and Southern Cal taking down crosstown rival UCLA in February.
The Hurricanes 23-10 record playing in the ACC is impressive, but it could have very easily been even better than that. Six of Miami’s last seven losses have come by 4-points or less. USC is in a somewhat similar boat, with their only losses since January coming against #1 seed Arizona and #4 seed UCLA.
Miami Has Had Tournament Issues
Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga is a respected veteran coach in his 5th tournament with Miami. UM’s Sweet 16 runs in 2013 and 2016 were nice, but this team has also lost in the first round their last two trips to the Big Dance in 2017 and 2018. This is the first NCAA Tournament berth for many of the Miami players, and USC meanwhile is coming off a trip to the Elite 8 last year.
The Hurricanes definitely have the offense to contend in the NCAA Tournament Miami vs USC matchup. Kameron McGusty, Isaiah Wong, and Charlie Moore all averaged over a dozen ppg during the regular season. The 5th year senior McGusty is experienced, and he was hot in the ACC Tournament with 20ppg in a win over Boston College and a loss to Duke.
USC Ready For Another Run?
The Trojans lost a big piece from last year’s Elite 8 berth with Evan Mobley going #2 in the NBA draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Andy Enfield still has Mobley’s older brother Isaiah who averaged 14.0 ppg and 8.5 rpg this season. The 6’10”, 235 pound Isaiah Mobley is a tough matchup for Miami.
Drew Peterson (12.5 ppg) and Chevez Goodwin (11.1 ppg) both played important minutes in last year’s USC team that made the Elite 8. Although the Trojans lost Evan Mobley and Tahj Eaddy, they do have reinforcements in Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis (12.2 ppg). Ellis had 27 in the Pac-12 Tournament loss to UCLA and 17 the game before that so he is geared up for March.
NCAA Tournament Miami vs USC Betting Information
The Trojans are slight -2 point favorites as their 26-7 record is just one win shy of a program record. The betting public is not impressed though with just a slight 51% taking USC giving just -2. Miami is just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 tournament games, while the Trojans have covered in 7 of their last 8 in the NCAAs. It should be noted that USC has an 8 game streak of failing to cover the number as a favorite.
NCAA Tournament Miami vs USC Pick
It’s hard to overlook the invaluable experience that USC has from going to the Elite 8 last season. Also while the Hurricanes have a solid offense, they’ve been known to give it up on defense with the 154th ranked defensive efficiency in the country. Opponents shoot 46.3% vs. the Hurricanes, but just 38.9% vs. USC which is 14th best in the nation.
USC 76 – Miami 69
Free Pick: USC -2