The general consensus for anyone betting March Madness has been that Gonzaga is eventually going to win. They’re still undefeated on the season and have demolished all three of their NCAA Tournament opponents so far. Each of their wins have been by double-digits as they’ve barely broken a sweat. Next up is No. 6 USC, who, like many other teams in the Pac-12, has surprised in March Madness. Can the Trojans turn everyone’s brackets upside down, or will Gonzaga cruise as expected?
USC Trojans at Gonzaga Bulldogs
Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 – 7:15 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
NCAAB Odds: Gonzaga -8½
The Bulldogs are going to get most of the headlines going into this matchup but USC’s performance in the NCAA Tournament can’t be overlooked. They entered as a No. 6 seed and have crushed their opponents so far. They’ve won all three of their games by double-digits, cashing by an average of 21.3 points per game. It’s not as if they’ve played a bunch of scrubs either. They started off with No. 11 Drake, who was one of the best teams to bet on this season (against the spread). After that, they handed No. 3 Kansas one of their worst losses in NCAA Tournament history (by margin), and then they clubbed No. 7 Oregon in the Sweet 16. While the seeding might say No. 6, they’ve definitely exceeded those expectations.
Taking a look at the KenPom.com ratings, USC is now No. 6 overall in terms of their Adjusted Efficiency Rating. Defense has been their calling card as they’re fourth-best in that category. If they can somehow slow down the Bulldogs and make this more of a grind rather than a run-and-gun contest, they’ll have shot here.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs entered the NCAA Tournament as the favorites to win it all and the championship futures show they’re still in the driver’s seat. Their offense has been prolific and that’s the biggest challenge that their opponents have: figuring out how to stop them. According to the KenPom.com Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, the Bulldogs are first overall with a rating of 126.5. They’re fresh off an 83-65 win over No. 5 seed Creighton and those 83 points scored were the fewest they’ve had in any NCAA Tournament game this year. Taking a look further back, the fewest they’ve scored in their last 11 games is 78 points; can USC really keep up with that?
The other key factor that doesn’t get talked about enough is the Bulldog’s defense. They’ve held 20 opponents this season under their scoring average – including each of their last six. This team isn’t a one-trick-pony on offense like an Iowa. They’re well balanced and that’s why they’re likely to earn another double-digit victory.