Day two of the NCAA tournament is upon us. Day one had four double-digit seeds win, and hopefully day two will provide just as much madness.
Miami will be taking on a tall and skilled USC team who won three tournament games last year, tying their school record. Miami has not won a tournament game since 2016, when they beat 14-seed Buffalo and 11-seed Wichita State before falling to Villanova.
I’m going to take a look at how these two teams matchup and give you a prediction of the matchup.
Miami has had a decent season, going 23-10 on the year. Miami’s season has been highlighted by wins over Duke and Virginia Tech on the road, as well as beating UNC and Syracuse at home.
The Hurricanes also played Duke very closely in the ACC tournament semifinals where they lost by four points in a great game. Miami’s biggest flaw is their size. Miami’s average height is around five inches shorter than USC’s average height.
The Canes are going to have to rely on small ball to beat the Trojans. Miami has only lost two games all year in which they shoot 50% or better from the field. If Kam Mcgusty and Isaiah Wong are making their shots the Canes can hang with anybody.
Mcgusty averages 17 ppg while Wong gets about 15 ppg. Big man Sam Waardenburg is a deep threat as well, shooting 43% from beyond the arc. This is important because the New Zealander’s pump fake is one of the best in the ACC.
The Trojans are coming off a good postseason last year, in which they were ranked a 6-seed and made it to the sweet sixteen. Since then they posted a 26-7 record this season, and have only lost to teams named UCLA and Arizona since January 27th.
USC is a massive team with six forwards 6’9” or taller, and four guards at 6’4”, 6’5”, 6’7”, and 6’9”. Miami will have trouble defending inside, but Sam Waardenburg and Jordan Miller will have to play solid defensively if the Canes want to stay in this game.
Forward Isaiah Mobley leads the Trojans with 14 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and 6’9” guard Drew Peterson dishes out around three assists per game. Chevez Goodwin is also a key player who averages 11 points in 24 minutes per night. Goodwin shoots roughly 57% from the field.
I like this matchup for the Trojans but they need to play smart. A team like Miami thrives on unforced errors and turnovers to drain you emotionally and make you play worse.
USC has an opportunity to slow it down, work the ball inside, and win a boring but easy game. If USC wants to take perimeter shots and play fast-paced basketball Miami has a real chance to steal this one.
Kam Mcgusty shoots 38% from three and Charlie Moore averages 4.5 assists and 2 steals per game. Good passing and solid defense is going to be extremely important for Miami to get this win.
Prediction: USC 79-Miami 72
Best Bet: USC -130 or Miami +2 (-110)