When my friend and I were predicting last year's tournament, the second-round matchup between Southern Cal and Texas caused headaches.
We were absolutely split on who to advance to the Sweet 16.
As it turns out, we picked USC, but not for any ordinary reason.
Taj Gibson was a freshman in the shadow of Kevin Durant. However, he was used to it. They played against each other multiple times in AAU ball, with Gibson showing up Durant most of the time. Nevertheless, Kevin Durant still received much of the spotlight.
Now I'm not knocking Durant; I just think Gibson and the rest of the talent at USC is often overlooked when it comes to March.
It is fair to say that Michael Beasley has received at least as much recognition this year as Durant or Greg Oden of last year. Well it just so happens that we are stuck in the same predicament.
Beasley was teammates with Durant on that same AAU team. You have got to be thinking that Gibson has the same mindset he did last year.
Maybe something along the lines of, "Man, these guys [Durant and Beasley] did nothing against me in AAU, but they still get all the media and hype; I shut them down once, now I'll do it again, this time in March."
Call it contextual thinking, but it worked last year when USC downed Texas 86-67 to advance to the Sweet 16.
Gibson will get it done on the defensive end, containing Kansas State—I mean Michael Beasley—and advancing to play Wisconsin.
I've heard enough about Wisconsin's defense. However, as a Duke fan, I have seen it. And as a student at the other USC, I saw O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson put on an acrobatic show in Columbia.
Wisconsin's defense is not athletic enough to handle the likes of Mayo and Jefferson, and the overrated and over-weighted Brian Butch won't be nearly effective against Gibson.
This USC team thrives on the national stage. There is no better time than March. The Trojans will have their way into the Sweet 16 and maybe even further.