March Madness begins
By City News Service
USC received the 10th seed in the East Region in the NCAA men's basketball tournament and will face seventh-seeded Michigan State in a first-round game today in Columbus, Ohio.
Oddsmakers have made the Trojans (22-10) a 1 1/2- to 2-point underdog. The ABC News-owned data prediction website FiveThirtyEight.com gives USC a 36% chance of winning.
Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the 10th seeds have a 52-75 record against the seventh seeds in the first round. One of the victories by 10th seeds occurred last year when Miami defeated the seventh-seeded Trojans, 68-66.
USC is the overall 39th seed in the 68-team tournament, while the Spartans (19-12) are seeded 26th.
The Trojans were among four Pac-12 Conference teams selected for the tournament. Michigan State is among eight teams from the 14-team Big Ten Conference in the tournament.
Tyson Walker, a 6-foot, 1-inch senior guard averaged 14.6 points to lead the Spartans while graduate student Joey Hauser, a 6-foot, 9-inch forward, is second, averaging 14.2 points per game.
This is the third consecutive tournament USC has participated in and 20th all-time. Michigan State will be participating in its 25th consecutive tournament, the third longest streak behind Kansas' 33 from 1990 to the present and North Carolina's 27 from 1975-2001.
The tournament was not played in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.