USC (26-9) vs Baylor (26-7)
When: Sunday, March 19th 2017
Where: BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
Time: 7:45 ET | TV: truTV
The Southern California Trojans will remarkably be playing their third game in five days after two huge comeback wins, when they take on the Baylor Bears on Sunday afternoon. The Trojans came back from 17 down to defeat Providence, 75-71, in a First Four game on Wednesday night and then rallying from a 12-point second half deficit to edge sixth-seeded SMU, 66-65, on Friday afternoon. It was the 13th time that USC had a double-digit comeback win this season, the most such victories in Division I. Junior guard Elijah Stewart, one of four Trojans averaging in double figures (12.0), was the hero against SMU, sinking a 3-pointer with 37 seconds to play for what proved to be the game-winner. Stewart, who finished with 22 points, including 6-of-13 3-pointers, went scoreless in the First Four victory over Providence. Bennie Boatwright, a 6-10 sophomore forward, leads the team in scoring (15.1) while 6-11 Chimezie Metu (14.5) and junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin (13.2) also are averaging in double-digits with Metu also leading the team in rebounds (7.9) and blocks (1.6). USC’s 26 wins are a school record, surpassing the previous mark of 25 set in 2007.
The Baylor Bears also know a little thing about comeback victories this season, going 9-2 when trailing at halftime. Baylor, which suffered first-round exits to 14th-seeded Georgia State and 12th-seeded Yale the previous two years, avoided making NCAA Tourney history by losing as a top-five seed in the first round three consecutive years, rallying from a 42-38 deficit with a little over 19 minutes remaining to defeat the New Mexico State Aggies. Jonathan Motley, a Naismith Award semifinalist and the 16th All-American in school history, had his 14th double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) of the season against New Mexico State despite sitting out a large chunk of the first half because of foul trouble. He leads the team in scoring (17.3) and the Big 12 in rebounding (9.9) and is considered a potential NBA lottery pick. Junior point guard Manu Lecomte, the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year, is second in scoring (12.3) while also shooting a team best 41.7% from 3-point range while junior guard Al Freeman (10.2) came off the bench to score a season-high 21 points, including 3-of-3 3-pointers, in Friday’s win. Baylor set school NCAA Tournament records for points (91), field goals made (35) and free-throw percentage (89.5) in the win over New Mexico State.
Baylor should be able to win this game, but USC is the feel-good story of the tournament so far and they’ve proven all season that they’re never out of a game. I have to take the points in this game.
Pick: USC +7
HEAD TO HEAD
|No trends available.|
Trends courtesy of SportsOptions.com – an UltimateCapper.com partner