Miami vs. USC Odds, Picks, Predictions: Trojans Could Have Trouble in First Round of NCAA Tournament
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Miller (Miami)
- No. 7 seed USC Trojans are a short favorite over the No. 10 seed Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
- Miami has an electric offense and while it has struggled on defense, excels at forcing turnovers, which should prove useful in this matchup.
- Get our full Miami vs. USC preview and pick below.
Miami vs. USC Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
By Doug Ziefel
They say styles make matchups, and boy, do we have two contrasting ones here. The Miami Hurricanes are lined up against the USC Trojans.
Miami (FL) will be a unique test for the Trojans, as it has not faced a lineup like the Hurricanes. Miami’s trio of guards and big man Sam Waardenburg will force the Trojans to defend on the perimeter.
Meanwhile, USC is a team that plays through its tremendous size and length, while looking to feed Isaiah Mobley down low.
Arizona is the only team to test the Trojans with shooting and tempo this season, and the Wildcats were victorious in both meetings.
On the flip side, you take a Miami team that proved it can handle superior big men, as it owns victories over Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Now, the only thing left to determine is whether each team’s performances against similar opponents will translate to this matchup.
The Miami Hurricanes had a rollercoaster of a season, riding the highs from beating the elites of the ACC to the lows of watching Selection Sunday in angst to see if they got in while firmly on the bubble.
This is one of the best offenses in the nation, ranking 17th in AdjO, per KenPom. The Hurricanes’ dynamic and versatile offense is led by star guard Kameron McGusty, who averages 17.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
McGusty doesn’t do it alone, however, as he is accompanied by three other double-digit scorers, Miami plays tight to the vest, with only seven players logging meaningful minutes.
The lack of depth is concerning, but this is an offense that can shoot its way past anyone, as we saw against Duke during the regular season and nearly a second time in the ACC semifinals.
While the offense is a well-oiled machine, the defense is concerning. This is a unit that comfortably ranked in the 200s in AdjD all season before improving a little to end at 157th.
If Miami’s offense sputters or the shots don’t fall, it’s curtains for the Hurricanes, as the defense will not allow it to get stops to help catch up.
While I think USC has all the ingredients for a first-round exit, it’s proven to be a difficult team to beat in down-to-the-wire bouts. One thing is for certain, though: Andy Enfield’s coaching job should not be understated.
The team lost its two best players from a season ago — Evan Mobley and Tahj Eaddy — yet finished with the same number of losses in 2022 in four more games. The Trojans seem to continually find themselves in one- or two-possession games, often coming out victorious.
While USC sits inside the top 100 in 3-point shooting, the Trojans don’t shoot 3s at a high rate. Their offense can at times be stagnant, but their size often leads to success on the interior or through second-chance opportunities.
This is a great offensive rebounding team, which has been a key difference in these close games.
Isaiah Mobley, Evan’s brother, has taken a huge step forward his junior season. Mobley does it all, averaging 14.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Outside of the 6-foot-10 big, Drew Peterson has come on strong as of late, and is the fourth-best 3-point shooter in conference play.
The glaring weakness of this offense is free-throw shooting — likely an explanation behind some of these closely-contested games. As a whole, the Trojans shoot just 66.7% from the line.
The money-maker of this team is its defense. While USC doesn’t force turnovers — it sits 338th in the country — it owns the best 2-point defense and is elite as it gets around the rim. It’s strong in transition and even better playing out of the half-court, too.
USC likes to slow the pace down and make it a defensive slugfest when it can, relying on its size advantage as much as possible.
The Trojans have found success against smaller teams, but have struggled against those that can compete physicality wise on the boards. Think back to their two losses to both Stanford and Arizona.
Miami vs. USC Betting Pick
By Doug Ziefel
As I alluded to in the intro, how each of these two teams performed against similar opponents can be telling of how this matchup will play out.
Overall, Miami has shown that it can deal with quality post players, and despite its relatively poor defensive numbers, it has been able to topple better teams through creating turnovers.
The Hurricanes’ versatility in their four-out one-in sets will create spacing for their guards to be able to penetrate off the pick-and-roll, and may also lead to kick-out 3-point opportunities.
For all green in USC’s defensive metrics, it is largely untested and has not faced a team like Miami. That is why I’m backing the Hurricanes to pull off the upset here.