Brackets from around the internet show USC basketball’s hopes of making the 2020 NCAA Tournament were helped greatly by their win over Arizona.
When USC suffered a sweep to the Mountain schools over last weekend, their NCAA Tournament prospects took a major hit. The best salve? A win over Arizona.
Lo and behold, the Trojans dug deep and limited the Wildcats to just 28.1 percent shooting from the field and their lowest point total of the season, nothing a 57-48 victory.
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The game featured a 3/4-length buzzer-beater from Onyeka Okongwu, who posted his 11th double-double of the campaign, at the half and a critical late three-pointer from Jonah Mathews.
The performances were necessary for what was essentially a do-or-die contest for the Trojans.
Bracket Matrix, a catalog of brackets from around the internet, projects USC at as 11-seed.
In the 80 brackets updated on Friday, after the Trojans victory over Arizona, the Trojans were included on all but three.
Of course, not all brackets are created equally. Fortunately for USC, the big hitters in the industry are generally optimistic of their chances, though there remains little wiggle room.
CBS Sports’ Jerry Palms featured USC as a 9-seed in the East region. He still lists USC among teams “On The Bubble,” but he boosted them up from a 10-seed in his latest projections.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi maintained his projection of USC as an 11-seed and one of the last four in. But instead of playing Providence, the Trojans are now pitted against Oklahoma.
Fox Sports’ Michael DeCourcy settled the Trojans into a 12-seed, along with UCLA. USC would get Cincinnati in a play-in game by his reckoning.
Yahoo! Sports Michael Lazarus agrees with the 12-seed projection. He called the Arizona win “ugly but enormous for Trojans.”
Indeed, the third win in Quad 1 puts USC even with Arizona on that front, both at 3-7. The Trojans also have the advantage of a 6-1 record in Quad 2 with only one loss from outside the first two quads.
The win also moved USC up to 44th in NET rankings, a three-spot rise from No. 47. They’re now just ahead of Saturday’s opponent ASU.
There was also a three-spot bump in RPI rankings, putting USC 30th.
Next up, the Trojans will take on ASU on Saturday evening. A win would put them one step closer to March Madness. A loss would leave them clinging to the bubble.