Gonzaga should be very afraid of USC basketball

USC basketball star Evan Mobley.
USC basketball star Evan Mobley. / Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

USC basketball has a real chance to beat No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament because of the Trojans' length and defensive prowess.

Only three teams have won all their NCAA Tournament games by double-digits: USC, Gonzaga, and Baylor. Two of those are No. 1 seeds. USC basketball is the No. 6 looking to spoil the party for one of them.

On Tuesday, the Trojans will battle the No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga for the right to go to the FInal Four.

USC opened as a nine-point underdog to the Zags, per Circa Sports. That's a big line, but it's considerably smaller than the other lines facing Gonzaga opponents. Creighton was a 12.5-point dog. Oklahoma was +15.5 and Norfolk State was +33.

It's an Elite Eight matchup, so you'd expect the odds to be tighter than other rounds, even for the best of teams, but Gonzaga has good reason to fear USC more than the others.

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The media in college basketball spent a fair bit of time on Sunday night pointing that out.

The Trojans are one of the best defensive squads in the country, and they've proved it so far in the tournament.

The tough part will be keeping up that defensive output against the best offensive team in the country.

Gonzaga shot 54.9 percent from the field in their three previous games. They were 42.5 percent from three-point range. Both stats top the field.

USC ranks first among all teams in opponent two-point shooting this season. Something is going to have to give.

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Can the Trojans really shut down the Zags? That impressive shooting record came against less impressive defenses than USC. Creighton ranked 42nd in opponent field goal shooting while Oklahoma was 116th and Norfolk was 26th.

Seth Davis of CBS Sports took the boldest step of all. Immediately after the Trojans knocked off the Ducks, he brought out the sharpie.

USC will have to prove him right on Tuesday.

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