Last year, the USC basketball team was in an even lesser position than they are this year as they were heading into the NCAA Tournament. Just like this year, they had an unimpressive run in the conference tournament. Unlike this year, however, they were ranked 24th in the AP poll. They're 22nd this year.
There are only nine Power 5 teams with more wins than USC's 26. That certainly wasn't the case last year. Yet, they still went on a run all the way to the Elite Eight. So, they're a better team at this point this year than they were at this point last year. Therefore, they can get back to the Elite Eight, right?
Well, according to WynnBET, no. WynnBET's betting odds for the USC Trojans to get to the Elite Eight are sitting at -2000 for No, and +900 for Yes. Despite SC proving last year that the Pac-12 IS a criminally underrated conference, they were still rewarded with a 7 seed. It makes the road tougher.
USC basketball still has a chance to get to the Elite Eight.
USC basketball CAN get to the Elite Eight. They have two First-Team All-Conference players. One is Drew Peterson, and the other is Isaiah Mobley. While there are other teams with multiple All-Conference players, few have multiple All-Conference players with one of them already proving to be elite at the NCAA Tournament level.
Mobley, who was correctly listed by Dick Vitale as one of seven big men who can be dominant in the NCAA Tournament, was named to the All-Region (West) team last year during March Madness. He elevated his game in a major way once the tournament began, and he's become an even better player since then.
Mobley caught fire in the tournament and never looked back--nailing 61% of his shot attempts, 54.5% of his three-point shot attempts, and 88.9% of his free throw attempts. He averaged 16 points a game and 6.5 rebounds per game. He turned into a different beast when it mattered.
Now, imagine the type of beast that Mobley will turn into this time around. Mobley has already elevated his game this season, hitting career-highs in points per game (14.3), rebounds per game (8.5), assists per game (3.2), and free-throw percentage (69.1). So, if he brings his game to the next level again, he's going to be even more impressive than the monster he was in last year's tournament.
While SC doesn't have a top three NBA Draft pick on their team this year, they do still have their other 2021 NCAA Tournament All-Region player on the roster who's significantly better than what he was. SC also has another First-Team All-Pac 12 player on the roster who's much improved as well in Peterson, and a coach who has developed into one of the hottest head coaching candidates of the offseason since last year (before USC luckily extended him).
Andy Enfield has been here before. Never forget when he took the "24th best team in the country" to an Elite Eight last year. Never forget when he took a team nowhere even close to anyone's radar at all to the Sweet Sixteen at Florida Gulf Coast in 2013. Enfield thrives when his back's against the wall. WynnBET should have adjusted their betting odds accordingly.