The uncertainty about who exactly is going to play for the Jayhawks is one of the major reasons the #3 seed is a +1 underdog in the NCAA tournament UCS vs Kansas pick. Positive COVID tests ripped through KU, but they could get another key piece back for Monday nights game with USC. Could.
Make no mistake, USC is worthy of being favored, if not by more than just a point. They have one of the most dynamic scorers in the country to go with one of the more fierce defenses in this tournament. The Trojans rolled through their round of 64 game, and put up 90 in one of the Pac-12 postseason matchups.
USC Great on Both Ends of the Court
What makes the Trojans great is that they can tally a win regardless if the game is a defensive battle or a high-flying affair. That was never more evident than a 64-63 win over UCLA in the regular season finale followed by a 91-85 victory over Arizona State (in OT) in the conference tournament opener.
USC was also dynamic on both ends of the court in their win over 72-59 win over Drake on Saturday as -7.5 favorites. The Trojans got a fairly easy win despite future NBA lottery pick Evan Mobley having ‘only’ 17 points. The 7-footer did have 11 boards, and is averaging 23 points and 9.7 rebounds through three tournament games.
Mobley has the comfort of playing next to his 6’10” brother Isaiah (who had 15 vs. Drake) as well as a solid supporting cast that includes Tahj Eaddy who had 10 assists in the first round and Drew Petersen, who has double figures in 5 of the last 6. That’s great depth in the NCAA tournament USC vs Kansas pick, especially if the Jayhawks are somewhat thin.
Jayhawks Getting Reinforcements?
Kansas struggled somewhat in their round of 64 opener, surviving a heroic performance from Eastern Washington’s Groves Brothers (58 combined points) to get the 93-84 win as -10.5 favorites. The close game shouldn’t come as a huge surprise though, as Kansas was shorthanded after positive COVID tests knocked them out of the Big 12 tournament.
David McCormack was supposed to be on a limits restriction against EWU as he returned from a bout with the virus, but the close game necessitated scoring 22 points in 25 minutes off the bench to help secure the victory. The Jayhawks were still without 3rd leading scorer Jalen Wilson (12.8 ppg), who had a double-double in 7 of the last 10 games. His status for Monday is still questionable.
If Wilson does play, he could be on the similar projected lessened minutes as McCormack. KU had the 10th best adjusted defense in the country this season, and were 21-8 despite having the 9th toughest schedule. That being said, not having Wilson would be a huge blow vs. the size of the Mobley Bros. Kansas didn’t have luck playing a pair of brothers last round.
Free NCAA Tournament USC vs Kansas Pick
Kansas didn’t look great in the first round, but is this the game where they turn things around when everybody counted them out? Possibly, but Mobley(s) and USC are a tough out right now, and do have the makings of a potential Final 4 team.
Pick: USC 81- Kansas 74
Pick: USC -1