Southern California forward Evan Mobley dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
- USC’s odds to reach the Final Four improved from +1150 to +525 after routing Kansas 85-51 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
- The Trojans advanced to the Sweet 16 and will meet Oregon in a West Region semifinal Sunday
- The Final Four odds for the four teams remaining in the West can be found below with betting advice
USC’s odds of making the Final Four for the first time since 1954 have improved significantly following its dismantling of Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The #6 seeded Trojans blew out the #3 Jayhawks 85-51 on Monday night as 1.5-point favorites. USC’s odds to win the West Region and reach the Final Four have since gone from +1150 to +525. It opened the tourney at +825.
USC plays #7 Oregon on Sunday in a regional semifinal in Indianapolis. The winner plays the winner of #1 Gonzaga vs #5 Creighton two days later in the Elite Eight with a chance to advance to the Final Four.
NCAA Tournament West Region Championship Odds
Odds taken March 23.
Big Brother Shines
Evan Mobley’s big brother, Isaiah, took a starring turn Monday in USC’s laugher.
Isaiah Mobley, a sophomore forward, had a team-high 17 points and made four three-point field goals. He had not made more than two made threes in a game all season.
The Trojans won for the fourth time in the last five games and improved their record to 24-7.
Even Mobley, the All-American freshman forward, added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
In all, five USC player scored in double figures. Isaiah White scored 13 points, Tahj Eaddy contributed 12, and Chevez Goodwin finished with 10.
The Trojans knocked down 11 of 18 shots from three-point range for a sizzling 61.1% and shot 57.1% (32 of 56) overall from the field. They also outrebounded Kansas 38-26.
Two days earlier, USC opened the tournament with a 72-56 victory over #11 Drake.
Evan Mobley had 17 points and Isaiah Mobley added 15 as the Trojans shot 50.0% (28 of 56) from the floor.
Familiar Foe on Tap
USC draws a familiar foe this weekend as it takes on Pac-12 rival Oregon.
The Ducks (21-6) have won six of their last seven games and 11 of their last 13. That does not include the no-contest against VCU in the first round last Saturday after the Rams were forced to withdraw from the tournament because of multiple positive COVID-19 tests.
The layoff did not affect, Oregon, though, as it knocked off #2 Iowa 95-80 on Monday in the second round as a 4.5-point underdog.
The Ducks were FLYING today! 🔥#GoDucks | #AlwaysUs pic.twitter.com/lxqdk14jAr
— Oregon Men’s Basketball (@OregonMBB) March 22, 2021
USC and Oregon met only once during the pandemic-affected regular season. The Trojans won 72-58 at home on Feb. 22 as 3.5-point choices.
Eaddy led the way with 24 points and Drew Peterson had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds as USC had a 35-25 edge on the boards. Evan Mobley finished with 11 points.
Gonzaga, also the top overall seed in the tournament, will likely await USC if the Trojans advance to the regional final. The Bulldogs, of course, are 28-0 and have won 25 straight games by double digits.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
USC Is Legit
USC is certainly a worthy Sweet 16 team.
The Trojans rank highly in KenPom.com’s efficiency statistics. They are fifth in defense, allowing 88.1 points per 100 possessions, and 15th offensively with a 114.9 mark.
Evan Mobley is a certain lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft. He is averaging 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots while making 58.0% of his field goal attempts.
Evan Mobley is blocking it all 😤 pic.twitter.com/XSsqiBlC0R
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2021
One of the more impressive aspects of USC’s showing in the NCAA Tournament to is it has advanced to the Sweet 16 despite not getting dominating performances from Mobley.
The Trojans have six players averaging at least 6.0 points a game. Eaddy is an effective perimeter scorer with an average of 13.0 points and a 38.5 shooting percentage on three-pointers.
USC also has a coach in Andy Enfield who has been here before. He led #15 Florida Gulf Coast’s Dunk City team to an improbable Sweet 16 berth in 2013.
Long Live Dunk City pic.twitter.com/PZmMKgdxgU
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 16, 2021
Trojans Must Beat The Best
Whether USC can make it to the Final Four is another matter, though.
The Trojans have the misfortune of being the same region with Gonzaga. While it is not impossible to see USC pulling the upset, it would take a Herculean effort to beat the Bulldogs, who could go down as one of the greatest teams in college basketball history.
Thus, it is hard to recommend putting money down on USC ending its 67-year Final Four drought.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.