USC Trojans Poised to Make Elite Eight Appearance

Andrew BullardCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

This year's tourney features some incredible potential match-ups, but the most watched and arguably best game in the entire field will be the first round action between USC and Kansas State. 

Think about it. Michael Beasley-O.J. Mayo. 

USC coach Tim Floyd's squad, led by Mayo, landed a No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region after posting a 21-11 regular season record. The Trojans finished third at 11-7 in the PAC-10, which was arguably the nation's toughest conference.

While Kansas State may be a much lower seed (No. 11), they will prove to be a tough test for USC as few teams have figured out how to successfully shut-down talented freshman Michael Beasley. 

The Wildcats boast a prolific offense averaging 78.68 points per game to USC's 69 points per game. The Trojans, however, have a tremendous defense that ranks twelfth among efficiency in Division I.

After what promises to be an exhilarating first round match-up, the Trojans will face third-seeded Wisconsin (29-4, 16-2 Big Ten) and the Badger's number one defense.

Though the Trojans hold a 3-7 record against top 25 teams, two of those three wins came against UCLA and Stanford and the Trojans lost to Memphis, Kansas, Washington State, Stanford, and UCLA all by six points or less. 

Similar to Kansas State, defenses all year have struggled to stop USC's star freshman O.J. Mayo who averages 20.8 points per game. His ability to take over games and excite teammates plays in very well with the excitement of March Madness. 

Perhaps seventh seeded Butler is your Cinderella pick, but the Bulldogs won't be able to get past Louisville or North Carolina in the East Region. 

If you want a sure Cinderella pick with potential to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament by beating Georgetown in the Sweet 16, then USC will fit your glass slipper.