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No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 6 USC preview, picks for Sweet 16 round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Oregon Ducks and USC Trojans are set to meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Sweet 16 round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Southern California Trojans forward Evan Mobley handles the ball while Kansas Jayhawks guard Ochai Agbaji defends during the first half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Saturday, March 28 12 p.m. Here are the updated bet splits from DraftKings Sportsbook for Oregon vs. USC:

Oregon: +2 (27% of handle, 27% of bets)
USC: -2 (73% of handle, 73% of bets)

It will be a rematch of two Pac-12 powerhouses when they No. 7 seed Oregon Ducks meet up to the No. 6 seed USC Trojans in the Sweet 16 Sunday. USC defeated Oregon earlier this season 72-58 on Feb. 22.

Tip-off is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 28th at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and will be broadcast on TBS.

No. 7 Oregon: 21-6 (14-4 Pac-12)

First Round: Advanced due to COVID-19 concerns for VCU
Second Round: Defeated No. 2 Iowa 95-80
KenPom rating: 18 Overall, 12 Offense, 54 Defense
Leading scorer: Eugene Omoruyi (16.7 ppg)
Key stat: The Ducks are shooting 37.9% from three-point range, good for 22nd in Division I.

While the other 62 teams in the NCAA Tournament got a chance to play in the first round, the Oregon Ducks and VCU Rams did not due to COVID-19 concerns within VCU. Therefore, the Ducks advanced to the second round based on that technicality. For a team that dealt with stoppages this season, it does not phase them as Oregon won 95-80 over No. 2 seed Iowa on Monday.

This Oregon team is balanced across the board as they have five players that are scoring at least 10 points or more. Eugune Omoruyi is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 47% from the field and 38.4% from three-point range. Another player to keep an eye on is Chris Duarte, who is also averaging 16.7 points per game. The senior guard is shooting 52.4% from the field and a team-best 43% from behind the arc.

No. 6 USC: 24-7 (15-5 Pac-12)

First Round: Defeated No. 11 Drake 72-56
Second Round: Defeated No. 3 Kansas 85-51
KenPom rating: 9 Overall, 20 Offense, 6 Defense
Leading scorer: Evan Mobley (16.4 ppg)
Key stat: The Trojans are holding opposing teams to only 39% shooting from the field, good for seventh in Division I.

The No. 6 seed USC Trojans started out the 2021 NCAA Tournament against the No. 11 seed Drake Bulldogs, whom they beat 72-56. On Monday night, Andy Enfield’s squad dominated the No. 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks 85-51 in the second round in one of the biggest surprises not by seed, but by margin of victory of the 2021 postseason so far.

Southern Cal one of the better teams on defense in the nation, featuring premier NBA prospect Evan Mobley. USC is holding teams to only 39% shooting from the field and 64.8 points per game, and Mobley plays a major role in the team’s success on both ends of the floor. The young center is averaging 16.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Mobley also boasts an ORtg of 121.6 and DRtg of 90.2. In addition to Mobley, the Trojans also feature Tahj Eaddy, who is averaging 13.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists (team-high) per game. He is one of the team’s best three-point shooters at 38.6%.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: USC -1.5
Total: 138
Moneyline: Oregon +104, USC -124

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Oregon +1.5
Point total pick: Under 138
Pick to Win: Oregon

The last time these two teams played each other in the regular season, the Ducks got absolutely thrashed by 20-plus points in the first half. It’s highly unlikely we will see that happening against based on how the Ducks played versus the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Oregon allowed Luka Garza to get his points, but made sure no one else on the perimeter did damage. This is the same script that they need to take in the Sweet 16. They can let Evan Mobley get his points, but do not allow open looks to their shooters. Offensively, Oregon just needs their starters to play close to their regular season production. Unlike their second round games, this Sweet 16 matchups will be good and come down to the wire.

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