USC basketball opened as a slight underdog to the Providence Friars in their first round match up of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
USC basketball may be the higher seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but the Trojans are slight underdogs to Providence, according to Vegas oddsmakers.
A No. 8 seed in the East bracket, USC opened as a 1.5-point underdog for Thursday night’s game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Early betting fell Providence’s way with the line quickly moving up to three points. However, that has since evened out and returned to the opening margin.
The over/under has been set at 149.5 with the Trojans averaging 80.8 points compared to 74 points for the Friars.
Their opponent, No. 9 seed Providence, finished fourth in the Big East with a 23-10 record. They began the season with a hot start, going 14-1 and rising as high as No. 8 in the AP Poll. However, they faltered during the tough conference schedule going 10-8.
Led by junior guard Kris Dunn and sophomore forwards Ben Bentil and Rodney Bullock, the Friars have three players averaging double figures in scoring this season. They’ll also have a slight regional advantage hailing from Rhode Island.
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
USC also had a bright start to the year going 11-2 in their non-conference slate before starting the Pac-12 schedule with a 4-1 record. However, road troubles took the sheen off of the Trojans successes. Twice they earned a ranking in the AP Top 25, and twice road sweeps dropped them from the rankings.
After losing six of their last eight games, USC bounced back with a blowout victory over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament to help them secure their first NCAA tournament bid since 2011.
Though they lost to Utah in the second round, the Trojans will hope they can dispatch another first round opponent for their first tournament victory since 2009.