USC-BC: 2009 NCAA Tournament Picks ATS, March 20

Ryan BrennanSenior Analyst IMarch 19, 2009

No. 10 USC Trojans (21-12, 9-9 PAC-10) vs. No. 7 Boston College Eagles (22-11, 9-7 ACC)

NCAA Tournament First Round—Midwest Region
Friday, March 20—7:20 PM EST on CBS


The Trojans secured their trip to the Big Dance by winning the PAC-10 Tournament after defeating California, UCLA, and Arizona State—all three of which are dancing with higher seeds. Before the tournament, USC was the ultimate bubble team—they were only 1-5 against Top 25 teams. It seemed like all was lost in February when they went 1-6. In upsetting two ranked teams en route to their title, though, they have shifted momentum in their favor at the perfect time.

BC is also 3-5 this season against the Top 25, although prior to the ACC Tournament they were 3-4. Being in the ACC, they have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to face multiple teams that have been the top-ranked team this season—winning one game against both Duke and UNC. They have also lost three times to former top-ranked teams—twice to Wake Forest, and to Duke by one in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.

Despite the Eagles' tough conference schedule, their relatively light OOC schedule hurt their SOS, which is only at 59. They only faced one ranked team in non-conference play—Purdue in the NIT Season Tip-Off. They have also seen their share of ups and downs this season, including a loss to Harvard (for the Crimson's first-even victory over a ranked opponent) three days after upsetting top-ranked UNC on the road.

The Trojans OOC schedule included games against Missouri and Oklahoma, although they were constantly trying to dig themselves out of the hole they put themselves in when they lost to Seton Hall and subsequently were knocked out of the Top 25. They had a very tough schedule overall, though, with a SOS of 21.

Regardless of the outcome, this should be a great March Madness game to watch. 7/10 games are generally pretty close and have a lot of potential for upsets, so if you're looking for some good first round action (and not 1/16 blowouts), make sure to check out the Trojans/Eagles at 7:20 on Friday.


By The Numbers





Stats Leaders

PPGT. Gibson - 14.3T. Rice - 17.1
 D. Lewis - 14.1J. Trapani - 13.5
 D. DeRozan - 13.6R. Sanders - 13.0
RPGT. Gibson - 9.4J. Trapani - 6.6
APGD. Hackett - 4.7T. Rice - 5.4
SPGD. Hackett - 1.3R. Sanders - 1.6
BPGT. Gibson - 2.8J. Trapani - 1.0




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