No. 11 seed USC basketball will look to shock the basketball world again on Sunday as they take on the No. 3 seed Baylor Bears in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
BOK Center | Tulsa, OK4:45 p.m. PT | TruTV (Live Stream)Last meeting: USC 83, Baylor 84 on 12/18/1978
USC basketball’s improbable run through the 2017 NCAA Tournament continues on Sunday night with a Round of 32 match up against the Baylor Bears.
To get to this point, the Trojans overcame a 17-point deficit to Providence during the First Four play-in game, then erased a 12-point deficit against No. 6 seed SMU in Tulsa on Friday.
The Bears needed just one win to advance to the Round of 32, battling New Mexico State in the first round.
Baylor and USC carried similar trajectories through the 2016-17 season. Each was undefeated in non-conference play and each finished the regular season with a tough stretch going into March. The Trojans went 5-4 and the Bears 5-5 in the final month of the season.
Both teams have also shown signs of resilience this season. Baylor has come back from a second-half deficit 12 times this season, while USC leads Division I with 13 victories after trailing by double-digits.
Forward Johnathan Motley, a Naismith Trophy semifinalist, leads the Bears in scoring this year with 17.3 points per game, while guard Manu Lecomte also averages in double figures.
Defensively, Baylor has thrived, leading the Big 12 by holding teams to 64.3 points per game. They also led the conference in field goal defense, rebounding and rebounding margin.
The Trojans will look to unlock that defense with the forward duo of Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, who lead USC with a scoring average of 15.1 and 14.5 respectively. Guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart average better than 10 points per game as well.
USC and Baylor have squared off twice before, but not since the Bears bested the Trojans in December of 1976. USC took the first meeting in December of 1955. Baylor head coach Scott Drew and the Trojans’ Andy Enfield have never faced each other.
Tip off is set for 4:45 p.m., or when Kansas vs. Michigan State concludes, on TruTV, with play-by-play from Kevin Harlan, color commentary from Reggie Miller, plus sideline reporting from Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson. It can be streamed online via NCAA.com.
F #5 Johnathan Motley, 6-10, 230, Jr.G #10 Manu Lecomte, 5-11, 175, Jr.F #0 Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., 7-0, 220 Jr.F #24 Ishmail Wainright, 6-5, 235, Sr.G #22 King McClure, 6-3, 215, So.
G #11 Jordan McLaughlin, 6-1, 180, Jr.G #22 De’Anthony Melton, 6-4, 190, Fr.G #30 Elijah Stewart, 6-5, 190, Jr.F #25 Bennie Boatwright, 6-10, 230, So.F #4 Chimezie Metu, 6-11, 225, So.
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Live Stream: NCAA.com
USC opened as a six-point underdog to Baylor on Friday evening, per the VegasInsider.com consensus line. The Bears held a seven-point advantage on Saturday but late betting has pushed the line down to 5.5 points.