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USC into the NCAA Tournament as a 6-seed in the West region

Following a 22-7 season, the USC Trojans head into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed in the West region, which includes No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga.

USC will play the winner of the play-in game between No. 11 seeds Drake and Wichita State. Drake went 25-4 this season and made the tournament as an at-large selection after losing to Loyola in the Missouri Valley Tournament final. Wichita State finished 16-5 and is another at-large selection, losing to Cincinnati in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

After that, the road could get pretty bumpy for USC, as there are some major programs in the way of a trip to the Final Four. With a win against the No. 11 seed, USC could face the West Region’s No. 3 seed, the Kansas Jayhawks, a team that went 20-8 this season and would bring plenty of prestige to that matchup.

The bottom quadrant of the region features the Oregon Ducks as the No. 7 seed, but they would would need to get through No. 10 VCU and likely No. 2 Iowa, which drew No. 15 Grand Canyon for its opening game, to meet up with USC in the Sweet 16. Iowa held its own in a very good Big Ten conference this season before losing to eventual tournament champion Illinois in the semifinals.

But the biggest name right now in the West region is No. 1 seed Gonzaga. Gonzaga went 26-0 and has already posted wins over Iowa and Kansas this season. The Bulldogs are the only major undefeated team this season and have simply been playing on a different level than other programs.

Virginia is the West’s No. 4 seed, with Creighton as the No. 5.

The Pac-12 landed five teams in the tournament, which was seen as a best-case scenario heading into today. In addition to USC and Oregon, Colorado landed the No. 5 seed in the East region, where they will take on No. 12 Georgetown and then the winner of Florida State – UNC Greensboro in the 4 – 13 matchup.

Oregon State earned an automatic big by beating Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament and landed a No. 12 seed, where the Beavers get No. 5 Tennessee in the opening game and then could face Cade Cunningham and No. 4 Oklahoma State with a win.

UCLA made the field as one of the final teams in, and will face off against Michigan State in a play-in game between two historic powers. The winner there will get 6-seed BYU and then potentially No. 3 Texas, which won the Big 12 tournament.

USC’s opening game against Drake or Wichita State will take place on Saturday. All games during this NCAA Tournament will take place in Indiana.

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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