USC basketball will have to go through a college basketball blue blood to advance in the NCAA Tournament. But there's a good reason the Trojans can't upset Kansas.
USC basketball can earn their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2007 with a victory over Kansas on Monday. Just don't call it an upset.
The Trojans won't upset the Jayhawks because they're not underdogs. USC is a one-point favorite over the No. 3 seed, per Vegas Insider.
USC basketball is favored to beat Kansas despite seeding and history
It's not often you see a No. 3 seed come into a game against a No. 6 seed as an underdog. This is one of those rare occasions.
The Trojans are a popular dark horse pick in the tournament because of Evan Mobley and their suffocating defense. In the end, they deserved a No. 6 seed because of late losses that denied them the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles. Still, the team is probably under-seeded based on talent.
On the other hand, the Jayhawks grabbed their No. 3 seed because of a hot finish to the season. However, COVID-19 knocked them out of the Big 12 Tournament and unsettled their March Madness prospects.
Kansas is expected to get leading rebounder Jalen Wilson back just in time for the game while forward David McCormack made a successful return to the lineup against Eastern Washington in the Round of 64.
Even though they are favored, the Trojans are at a disadvantage when it comes to tournament success. Andy Enfield had a deep run with Florida Gulf Coast, but Saturday's victory was just his second first round win with the Trojans.
By comparison, Bill Self has led the Jayhawks to a national title, a Final Four and five Elite Eights. Kansas is built on tournament performances, while USC aspires to reach their level some day. They can start by beating them on Monday.