The USC Trojans will be looking to extract some revenge against the Providence Friars when the two longshot NCAA championship hopefuls square off in their First Four matchup on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.
Providence dispatched the Trojans 70-69 in a first-round NCAA tournament game last season as Rodney Bullock drained a basket with 1.5 seconds remaining to lift the Friars to victory. Now the two will square off as 11 seeds for the right to face sixth-seeded SMU in Tulsa on Friday.
Now, let’s find out where the value in this matchup lies.
How To Bet The USC Trojans Vs Providence Friars Line, Pick & TV Info
The Friars and Trojans are a pick ‘em in their first round pairing which gets underway on Wednesday, March 15 at 9:10 PM ET, live from the University of Dayton Arena while airing live on TruTV.
What: March Madness First Four
USC Trojans Vs Providence Friars
When: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 9:10 PM ET
Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Odds: Pick Em
Why Bet The USC Trojans as a Pick ‘Em
USC (24-9 SU, 16-16 ATS) had their modest three-game winning streak snapped in their heartbreaking 76-74 Pac-12 tournament loss to rival UCLA on Thursday to fall to an uninspiring 3-5 over their last eight games. Still, the Trojans average an impressive 78.7 points per game (56th) on 45.4 percent shooting from the field (123rd) and 36.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc (115th).
Bennie Boatwright (14.6 PPG; 4.3 RPG; 16 games) leads the Trojans in scoring while Chimezie Metu contributes 14.5 points per contest. Jordan McLaughlin (13.1 ppg) and Elijah Stewart (12.4 ppg) also average double figures for USC, even though the Trojans have been mediocre at best in allowing 73.2 points per game to rank 211th in points allowed defensively.
Why Bet The Providence Friars as a Pick ‘Em
The Friars (20-12 SU, 20-12 ATS) had their impressive six-game winning streak halted in their 70-58 Big East tournament loss to Creighton on Thursday but played excellent basketball down the stretch to reach March Madness for the fourth straight season.
Providence averages a modest 70.2 points per game to rank 248th in scoring while shooting 44.7 percent from the field (157th) and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc (90th). Defensively, the Friars limit the opposition to just 66.6 points per contest to rank a stellar 50th in points allowed while holding their opponents to 44.1 percent shooting from the field (195th) and just 32.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc (65th).
Providence has three double-digit scorers on the roster in forward Rodney Bullock (15.7 points), frontcourt mate Emmitt Holt (12.4 ppg) and guard Kyron Cartwright (11.4 PPG: 6.7 APG) and Jalen Lindsey (10.2 ppg).
USC Trojans Vs Providence Friars Pick & Final Score Prediction
While I really like Providence’s defense, I just don’t think the Friars will be able to keep up with the offensively-explosive USC Trojans in this matchup which is why I suspect 56 percent of the betting public already like USC to win and cover the spread.
USC is 4-1 in neutral site games this season and 6-5 in away games while Providence has gone 1-2 in three neutral site games this season and 4-7 on the road.
I know Providence is 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight-up loss and a blistering 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall, but the Friars are also just 1-5 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games and will take on a USC ballclub that apparently likes playing on Tuesdays, seeing as how the Trojans are 6-1 ATS in the last seven Tuesday games. Providence won’t go easily into the night, but I do expect them to fall in a heartbreaker.