Oregon forward Eugene Omoruyi (2) comes down with a rebound next to Oregon State forward Dearon Tucker (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
- No. 6 seed USC faces No. 7 seed Oregon in a Sweet 16 matchup on Sunday, March 28 at 9:45 p.m.
- The two Pac-12 powers met only once in the regular season, with the Trojans rolling to a 14-point win
- Below, see the odds and best bet for the game
The final Sweet 16 game to tip-off will be a battle of Pac-12 powerhouses when 6-seed USC takes on 7-seed Oregon on Sunday, March 28, at 9:45 pm ET. TBS will have full TV coverage of the contest, which will be played inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
USC will head into Sunday night as a 2.5-point favorite to make its first regional final since 2001.
Oregon vs USC Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Oregon Ducks||+2.5 (-109)||+124||O 139.5 (-110)|
|USC Trojans||-2.5 (-112)||-146||U 139.5 (-110)|
Odds as of March 24.
Oregon and USC met just once in the regular season, with the Trojans running away with a 72-58 home victory on Feb. 22. The Ducks have won eight of nine since that February setback, with their only loss over that span coming against Oregon State in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
USC Has Been Superior So Far
Both Oregon and USC were awfully impressive over the NCAA Tournament’s opening weekend. The Trojans had little trouble with No. 11 seed Drake before moving on and handing 3-seed Kansas its most lopsided defeat (85-51) in NCAA Tournament history. The Ducks, meanwhile, automatically advanced to the second round after VCU was forced to pull out of the tournament. Then they proceeded to blast second-seeded Iowa (95-80) on Monday.
As good as both teams were against well-respected opponents in the second round, it’s hard not to say that USC was at least slightly more impressive. Oregon may have scored at will against Iowa, but the Ducks were abused inside by Iowa star Luka Garza, who finished with 36 points and nine rebounds. USC, on the other hand, dominated Kansas on both ends of the floor and in every aspect of the game.
3 seed Kansas lost to 6 seed USC 85-51. Kansas’ 34-point loss is the 3rd worst loss in program history.
The Jayhawks have only suffered eight 30-point losses in program history, most recently a 72-40 loss to Kentucky in 2014. pic.twitter.com/Rv7VvL1Wa4
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 23, 2021
Oregon has been at its best this season against teams like Iowa that are more offensive than defensive minded. They won’t have that luxury in their Sweet 16 matchup with a USC squad that is currently No. 5 in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. Since Jan. 16, the Trojans have allowed just one team to score more than 72 points against them, and that 85-point effort from Utah came in a double overtime affair.
March Madness Final Four Odds Tracker
Dana Altman Thrives Under the Brightest Lights
The biggest advantage Oregon may have going for it in this game is the one on the end of its bench. It’s probably time for college basketball fans to start making Dana Altman’s name synonymous with March success the same way they do with guys like Tom Izzo and Jim Boeheim.
Under Altman, Oregon has been to the NCAA tournament in seven of the last eight years, and has won at least one game in all seven of those March Madness appearances. The Ducks have been to the Sweet 16 five times over that span, and have played their way to the second weekend in four of the last five years.
Dana Altman’s Oregon teams are now 15-4-1 ATS in the Tournament pic.twitter.com/e5nvZjfj5E
— Bets Stats (@betsstats) March 22, 2021
The only two times Oregon has lost in the Sweet 16 have been competitive games against the team that eventually won the national championship. In 2013, the 12th-seeded Ducks gave Louisville the toughest test it would face until it got to the Final Four. In 2019, another 12th-seeded Oregon team pushed Virginia to the brink before ultimately falling by four.
On the flip side, Andy Enfield is appearing in just his second Sweet 16, and his first in eight seasons at USC. Enfield’s only previous experience in the tournament’s second weekend came in 2013, when he made Florida Gulf Coast the first 15-seed ever to play in a regional semifinal. Dunk City’s magical run ended with a 62-50 loss to Florida.
Best Betting Angle
Oregon starts five upperclassmen and fields a roster full of players who have been in this position before. Even with that being the case, their defense is nowhere near the level of their offense, and is especially vulnerable to giving up a ton of points inside. That’s not ideal when going up against a USC team that has a 7-foot star freshman in Evan Mobley, who is likely going to be a top five pick i the upcoming NBA draft.
Still, these are the situations where Altman thrives. He has almost a full week to prepare for an opponent that, historically, he has had a great deal of success against. Expect Altman to have Oregon pressing the younger Trojans and throwing a number of different defensive looks at them to take USC away from the things it does best. When the products on the court are so similar, sometimes in March, you have to roll with the superior sideline.
The pick: Oregon +2.5 (-109)
Mike Rutherford has been the managing editor of Louisville sports website Card Chronicle since 2006. He served as SBD Nation’s college basketball editor from 2011-2020, and his college hoops writing has appeared on the websites of ESPN, CBS and Yahoo, among others.