Providence-USC Square off in First Four

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Both Teams Could Cause Havoc in Tourney

Wednesday’s First Four matchup in Dayton between the Providence Friars and the USC Trojans might be one of the most competitive games in the entire NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The winner will advance as the No. 11 seed in the East Region. Tip-off is at 9:10 ET on truTV.

Oddsmakers have the Trojans set as 2-point favorites in this First Four matchup. The total is sitting at 142.

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The Friars (20-12 SU and ATS) come out of the Big East as one of the most profitable teams in college basketball. They’re stout on defense and deliberate on offense, which masks some of their problems getting the ball in the hoop. Providence ranks No. 285 out of the 351 Division I teams in field-goal attempts and No. 248 in scoring at 70.3 points per game.

USC (24-9 SU, 16-16 ATS) was in the AP rankings over the holidays, but barely squeaked into March Madness after a late-season surge. The Trojans are more proficient on offense than Providence, ranking No. 56 overall at 78.7 points per game; however, USC also played a softer schedule in the Pac-12, and their perimeter defense is in question. The top player on the Friars, junior guard Jalen Linsdey, is 46.1% from downtown this year on 6.2 attempts per 40 minutes.
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