The Runner Sports

The Madness Begins: USC vs Providence What To Expect

USC earned their way into a tournament play-in game against a talented Providence squad. The play-in games are usually the most evenly matched games of the early rounds due to the obvious reason that they are the same rank in the eyes of the committee. This one is undoubtedly going to be a close matchup between two teams fighting for forty minutes of intense battle; all the blood sweat and tears of the season put into one gladiator match.

Providence, led by 6’8” forward Rodney Bullock out of the Hampton, Virginia area, is a talented team who is just coming off having an NBA Draft lottery pick last year in Kris Dunn. Bullock, who hit the game-winner against USC in last year’s tournament, is averaging 15.7 points per game, which leads the Friars. This is a well-balanced team as well, most games they will run with a nine-man rotation, which in tournament games, where everything seems more emotional, can make a huge difference.

Kyron Cartwright, a junior guard for Providence, is currently leading the team in assists at 6.7 a game. Cartwright is truly one of the more gifted passers who doesn’t get national notoriety, with the ability to score as well at 11.4 points a game.

The man to be concerned with from the land of the three on Providence is none other than Jalen Lindsey. Shooting 46.1% from deep, Lindsey can pour in the points if given open shots, he averages just over 10 points a game.

The Friars as a team shoot just over 69% from the free throw line, in a grind it out game USC has the edge at 73.9%.

Providence has had plenty of experience during the regular season against teams that made the field of 68, beating Vermont, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, Butler, Creighton, and Marquette.

The Trojans of USC are looking for a big tournament win and are confident in their abilities. They are hoping to not only win this game, but advance to the round of 32 for the first time since 2009.

Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu are the leading scorers of the Trojans at 14.6 and 14.5 respectively. USC averages 79 points a game as a team, which is impressive even for the faster-paced Pac-12. Metu is also their leading rebounder at 7.8 points a game. They’re led by floor general Jordan McLaughlin, who is an underrated facilitator and makes the engine go for Andy Enfield’s squad.

Both teams have a strong perimeter presence and the game will more than likely be fast paced. USC has a plethora of young guards. Jonah Mathews and De’Anthony Melton are both astounding freshman guards. Both teams are guard dominant, which creates a facer paced game, but both are known for wrecking havoc defensively. This will lead to trying to find as many transition opportunities as possible. With both sides averaging over 70 points a game, it should be a high scoring affair.  Whatever the outcome of this game, you will want to pay attention. Either one of these teams may just be the one to bust your bracket this year and send your March happiness into a frenzy. Undoubtedly this will be a game you do not want to miss.