The USC Trojans face the Virginia Commonwealth Rams tonight in a first round game in Dayton, Ohio, in a game that will determine who plays the Georgetown Hoyas in the second round.
The Trojans should beat the Rams thanks to some key advantages.
USC has been very good all season in big games, and have knocked off three top-20 teams, and almost beat the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence.
The Trojans have a good inside-outside game with big men Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson down low, and guards Jio Fontan and Maurice Jones on the perimeter.
USC head coach Kevin O'Neill has to be grateful that he has a job, after an incident with a University of Arizona booster in a hotel lobby. The second-year coach was suspended but is back now and has something to prove, and with his players behind him. O'Neill can expect an inspired effort, particularly from the defensive end, which is the coach's specialty.
VCU had lost four out of five going into the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, but defeated number 25-ranked George Mason in the semifinals before losing to Old Dominion 70-65 in the title game.
The Rams are lead by 6'9 senior forward Jamie Skeen, who is averaging 15.3 point per game.
The Rams' top scorers are all upperclassmen, but this experienced VCU squad has had problems beating tough competition.
Expect USC defensive star Marcus Simmons to suffocate the up-tempo and three-point-shooting style of VCU, and for Vucevic to muscle his way into several low-post scores. VCU plays tough man-to-man defense, but USC has players who can penetrate and pass.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: USC 69-62.