The second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament closes out with what could be an epic duel between the third-seeded Kansas Jayhawks and the No. 6 Southern California Trojans on Monday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Both teams play defensive styles and have athletic big men, with 7-foot freshman Evan Mobley leading USC and 6-10 junior David McCormack a huge piece for Kansas. The Trojans (23-7) cruised to a 72-56 victory against Drake in the first round, while the Jayhawks (21-8) struggled before putting away Eastern Washington 93-84 on Saturday.
Tip-off is set for 9:40 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Trojans as one-point favorites in its latest USC vs. Kansas odds, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 135. Before finalizing any Kansas vs. USC picks, check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of over $2,500 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It has also returned almost $500 on all top-rated college basketball picks this season. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- USC vs. Kansas spread: Trojans -1
- USC vs. Kansas over-under: 135 points
- USC vs. Kansas money line: Trojans -115, Jayhawks -105
- USC: G Drew Peterson has hit 54.5 percent on 3-pointers over the past six games
- KU: G Marcus Garrett has gotten 111 of his 127 rebounds (87.4 percent) on the defensive end
Why USC can cover
Evan Mobley has been dominating all season for USC, which is 17-13 against the spread overall. He protects the rim, swatting away three shots per game and is a force inside on offense, scoring 16.8 points. McCormack will have his hands full with the Pac-12's Freshman, Defensive and overall Player of the Year, who also pulls down 8.7 rebounds per contest. His presence is a big reason the Trojans hold opponents to 39 percent shooting (eighth in NCAA) and 64.8 points (45th).
The Trojans are 9-7 ATS this season with equal rest, and they rank fifth in the nation with 5.3 blocked shots per game. Isaiah Mobley, Evan's older brother, blocks one per contest and gets 7.3 boards as USC averages almost 39 per game (25th in Division I). The Mobley brothers combined for 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks Saturday. Guards Tahj Eaddy (13.5 points) and Drew Peterson (10) keep defenses from collapsing inside, combining to hit 90 of 236 attempts from three-point range (38.1 percent).
Why Kansas can cover
Kansas is 7-2-1 against the spread in its past 10 games, and McCormack and Ochai Agbaji are both excellent two-way players. They combined for 43 points even with McCormack coming off the bench Saturday after a positive COVID test, and they team up for more than 28 points, almost 10 rebounds and three assists per game. Agbaji is the primary outside shooter, hitting 38.5 percent on 200 3-point attempts, while McCormack does his work in the paint.
The Jayhawks are 7-3-1 against the spread this season on equal rest, and they also play strong defense. They give up 66.4 points per game (third in Big 12), and guard Marcus Garrett was a unanimous Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection. Kansas averages seven steals, with Garrett taking the ball away a team-high 1.6 times while also leading the team in assists (3.8). The Trojans are an abysmal free-throw shooting team, ranking 320th in the nation (64.4 percent), while three Kansas starters shoot better than 80 percent from the line.
How to make USC vs. Kansas picks
The model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 139 points. It also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Kansas vs. USC? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.