No. 3 Baylor Bears vs. No. 11 USC Trojans Preview
Where: BOK Center – Tulsa, OK
When: Sunday, March 19, 2017 – 7:45 PM ET
TV Broadcast: truTV
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Betting on the Baylor Bears (-7)
Baylor made sure that it wouldn’t be another victim of Cinderella’s pumpkin ride, as the third-seeded Bears pulled off a resounding 91-73 victory over New Mexico State on Friday. It was a morale-boosting win for the Bears who suffered gut-wrenching first-round exits in the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons.
Al Freeman starred for the Bears in this contest, scoring a game-high 21 points while coming off the bench. It wasn’t all Freeman, though, as he received ample scoring support from his fellow Bears. In fact, four other players scored in double-figures for Baylor. Reserve forward Terry Maston, Jo Lual-Acuil, Johnathan Motley and Manu Lecomte combined for 60 huge points against the Aggies.
Baylor had a field day against New Mexico State, shooting an incredible 57 percent from the field. The Bears will have their work cut out for them, however, in the next round against a USC defense that has been rock-solid this postseason. The Trojans’ 2-3 zone defense, in particular, was tremendous against SMU with the Mustangs managing just 15 points against it in the final 13 minutes last Friday. To unlock such a problematic defense, the Bears will need to knock down their outside shots tonight. Baylor buried 50 percent (4-of-8) of its three-point attempts in the first round.
Baylor is 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games.
Betting on the USC Trojans (+7)
There’s no doubt about it, March Madness is well and truly here! USC recorded the shock of the tournament thus far, beating sixth-seeded SMU, 66-65, in the round of 64 on Friday. It was an emotional victory for the Trojans who battled back from a 10-point second-half deficit. Leading the way for USC in this epic win was Elijah Stewart. He scored 22 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 37 seconds to play. Stewart was simply sensational against the Mustangs, connecting on eight of his 15 field goal attempts, including going 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Next up for the upset-minded Trojans is a round-of-32 clash with No. 3 Baylor. For USC to record another major shock, it needs to continue its excellent play on the defensive end. The Trojans clamped down on the Bears’ shooters on Friday, holding SMU to just 42.1 percent shooting from the floor in the first round. They are allowing an average of just 68 points over their last two postseason games. The Trojans, in particular, will need to pay special attention to Baylor star Johnathan Motley. He leads the Bears in scoring this season, averaging 17.3 points per game. Motley recorded yet another double-double in the win against New Mexico State, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 boards.
USC is 5-1 SU and ATS in its last six games.
Baylor wins but USC (+7) covers.
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