NCAA Sweet 16 Free Pick – Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

In a sign of just how good the Pac-12 is this season, four of the five teams that made the Dance reached the Sweet 16. Unfortunately one of them will be knocked out when conference foes Oregon Ducks and USC Trojans meet on Sunday. USC dominated the regular season meeting winning 72-58 when the teams hooked up last month. The Trojans are also coming off a thrashing of Kansas last week reaching the third round for the first time since 2007. Oregon reached the Sweet 16 by winning once with their other game ruled a no-contest after VCU’s COVID failure. The Ducks are catching 2-points on the opening line.  Bookmaker.eu offers a generous CASH welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)

Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans
Date and Time: Sunday, March 28, 2021, 9:45 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Opening College Basketball Odds: USC -2, O/U 139
Oregon vs. USC TV Coverage: TBS

Odds Analysis

Showing no signs of rust after their first-round game with VCU was ruled a no-contest the Ducks cruised past No. 2 seed Iowa to reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the last five NCAA Tournaments. They’ve been the poster child for the Pac-12 the last few seasons and put on a clinic sending notice to their league rival. Oregon had a nine-day break between its Pac-12 tournament loss to Civil War rival Oregon State and its first NCAA Tournament game. No big deal as they won outright as a 4.5-point dog. The Ducks closed the regular season with 10 wins in their final 11 games with the only setback to USC. They went 7-4 ATS in that span. The Ducks opened as a 2-point underdog, just the fifth time this season they’re catching points. They were 2-2 SU and ATS in the previous four. On a big stage and in grand fashion the Trojans showed just how good they are by routing Kansas 85-51 in the second round. The way they’ve looked in the Tournament it’s hard to believe they lost a game this season. They have the most wins of any Pac-12 school and are currently 24-7 SU and 18-13 ATS with payouts in their first two Tournament games.

Oregon Ducks

It’s been a wild season for the Ducks, who have dealt with COVID pauses and injuries. That’s probably why they weren’t affected by the first-round pass and lengthy delay between games. They worked through everything to win the regular season Pac-12 title and if not for their loss to Oregon State the conference likely gets only four bids to the Dance. In a roundabout way I guess they did their biggest rival and the conference a solid. If anything the Ducks should be well rested for this showdown. The delay ahead of the Iowa game certainly didn’t affect the offense. The Ducks shot 56 percent from the floor to collect a season-high point total in the 95-80 victory.

The Ducks can light it up scoring 80 or more points in five of their last six games. They’ve also cashed the OVER in eight straight games. They are led by Chris Duarte, who hit 9 of 12 shots and scored 23 points against Hawkeyes. For the season he averages 17.0 points shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 42.8 percent from three-point range. Eugene Omoruyi averages 16.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. The two struggled against USC’s size in the earlier matchup combining for 20 points. The Ducks scored a season-low in the 72-58 setback.

USC Trojans

We don’t always think of USC as a basketball school, but that narrative is being changed this year with a lot of help from the Mobley brothers. Pac-12 Player of the Year Evan Mobley is a beast averaging 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Evan had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Kansas and was overshadowed by Isaiah, who hit four three-pointers and scored 17 points in the win. Troy handed KU its worst NCAA Tournament loss and the third-worst defeat in program history. USC turned it on at the Tournament beating Drake and KU by an average margin of 25 points.

While the offense has looked good with multiple players pitching in, the Trojans use a stingy defense to stifle opponents. The Mobleys play a role in that area as well. Their size – Evan goes 7-foot while Isaiah checks in at 6-10 – disrupts a lot of attempts at the rim. And getting second chances are nearly impossible. They are plus-7.2 in rebound margin while holding opponents to 38.7 percent shooting. Another defensive effort like we saw last month against the Ducks will have the Trojans in the Elite Eight.

Bet Oregon vs. USC at BookMaker.eu

Both teams have looked sharp on offense during the Tournament and I expect Oregon to make adjustments after they were smothered by USC last month. Still, the length of USC is tough to get around and outside of Duarte, Oregon isn’t proficient from the perimeter. We are likely to see enough points scored to carry the OVER, but I like the Trojans to have a few more on the scoreboard.

NCAA Tournament Prediction: USC 76, Oregon 69

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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