|Written by Michael|
Bet on NCAABOn Wednesday night, USC basketball head coach Kevin O'Neill will return to the bench after being suspended during the Pac-10 conference for an argument he got into with a fan. The USC Trojans play the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, with the winner of tonight's matchup going on to face No. 6 Georgetown on Friday.
Sportsbook odds favor the Trojans in this First Four game, who are -4 point favorites. The total is set at 127.5. VCU is coming into the tournament after securing their first at-large berth since 1984. They had an upset against regular season conference champions George Mason in the Colonial Tournament, which earned them their place in the NCAA tournament.
The Rams are a veteran team, with four of the top five scorers on the team being seniors. Forward Jamie Skeen and guard Bradford Burgess combined for 38 points and 14 rebounds the previous time they played a Pac-10 team. This was a win against UCLA in November. Although the team does not have much in terms of size, they are strong behind the arc. Six players have more than 25 three-pointers each, and they had 11 threes in the George Mason upset.
Despite not having a strong record, the Trojans (19-14) had some wins against strong opponents. They defeated Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington, and UCLA. Their loss to No. 1 seed Kansas was only by two points. Nikola Vicevic has also been dominant in the paint, and averages 17.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He will be tough for the Rams to stop.
The key for the Trojans is to limit VCU's ability to score easy, numerous three-pointers. If USC shuts down the perimeter, the Trojans come out with the win. For VCU, the key will be overcoming USC's size advantage and keep Vucevic and Alex Stepheson from getting a ton of shots under the basket. If they can limit the damage in the paint and have a decent scoring night, VCU could win this game.