The Big 12 fell flat on its face in Round 2, with the Kansas Jayhawks the last hope to give Baylor a conference companion in the Sweet 16. Will the return of Jalen Wilson be enough to push KU past the USC Trojans, the best team in the suddenly mighty Pac 12? Our crew gets together to tell you what to expect.
Disagree with anything you see here? Leave your own prediction in the comments below!
dnoll5: I’m going to be an optimist and say KU wins. Why? Because I like watching the tournament and when Kansas is out, I stop caring. So in a purely selfish move and because this is a Kansas blog, I’m taking KU in a close one. Kansas 77, USC 73
Fizzle406: A shorthanded KU team is playing an extremely tall California team in the second round of the NCAA tournament. This seems familiar. I hope I’m wrong but I think this is the last basketball prediction i will be making until November. USC 77, Kansas 68
David: This may ultimately come down to whether KU hits their threes. They aren’t getting any easy buckets on this USC team, and easy shots at their rim aren’t really their specialty in the first place. I don’t see USC putting up a ton of points, so the question is, can KU find ways to match the points the Trojans do score? Hitting jump shots will be the key. Kansas did that Saturday, but can they do it again? My guess is they come up short. USC 70, Kansas 64
Kyle_Davis21: The keys to victory are pretty clear in this one: keep USC off the offensive glass, limit unforced turnovers, and hit 30% or better from 3. Jalen Wilson will definitely help on the rebounding aspect, if he is in decent shape coming back from COVID, and I’m hoping the shooting confidence from Saturday will bleed over to today. While USC is tall and athletic, the fact that the Trojans don’t take many threes should be a relief—compared to the damage teams like Iowa and Gonzaga could do in later rounds. Unless USC goes 8-18 from 3 and dominates second-chance points, I think Kansas ekes out a close one. Kansas 68, USC 65
Brendan: Evan Mobley is obviously the most dangerous piece USC has, but some of USC’s worst basketball this year was when opposing defenses focused their attention on eliminating the Trojan guards. Marcus Garrett and co. will lock down the outside and the Jayhawks will squeak by. Kansas 69, USC 65
Andy Mitts: Round 1 wasn’t easy, but David McCormack dominated coming off his COVID pause. The real question is if Jalen Wilson can do the same, as he is going to be key in both defending the Trojans and setting up spacing for the 3. It’s asking a lot, but he also won’t have to do it alone. Yes, Evan Mobley is an amazing player, but he (and USC) hasn’t faced a defense as good as the Jayhawks’. It’s going to be tough, but I think Kansas ekes it out to give the Pac-12 their first tournament loss. Kansas 72, USC 71.