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March Madness Sweet 16 X-Factors: USC vs. Oregon

Who are the x-factors for USC and Oregon ahead of Sunday's Sweet 16 matchup?

The Sweet 16 kicked off on Saturday as the NCAA Tournament has dwindled down to the regional semifinals in Indianapolis. 

Tonights West region matchup features a Pac-12 battle between the USC Trojans and Oregon Ducks.  

In order to advance past the Sweet 16, both teams will need to bring their A-Game. So who are some of the x-factors for the Trojans and Ducks on Sunday night? 

Let’s dive in.

- USC Trojans X-Factors -

Redshirt Senior Guard Tahj Eaddy

Even though USC obliterated Kansas in the round of 32, the Trojans had some struggles handling the ball against the Jayhawks. Andy Enfield’s team tallied 14 turnovers in the 85-51 win.

Oregon ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 in steals per game, swiping pockets 7.5 times per game. Dana Altman’s squad has five players averaging at least one steal per contest.

Eaddy, the Trojans primary ball handler will need to display solid control when holding possession. If the Santa Clara transfer can have a good game running the offense, the Trojans could advance to the Elite Eight.

Sophomore Forward Isaiah Mobley

Isaiah Mobley, big brother of freshman sensation Evan Mobley, arguably had one of the best performances during the Trojans last contest against Kansas. The sophomore knocked down four threes and led the team in scoring with 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds.

Isaiah has been a key component to USC's success all season long, and if he can have another stellar matchup against Oregon, that could translate into a USC win.

- Oregon Ducks X-Factors -

Senior Guard/Forward LJ Figueroa

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We all know what star Chris Duarte brings to the table for Oregon, but the whole Ducks starting lineup can stroke it from deep, and score 20+ any night. That includes Figueroa, who knocked down five three against Iowa as the Pac-12 regular season champions dominated the Hawkeyes. 

LJ will have to stand his ground against the bigger USC wings, but his offense and sharp shooting will be important if the Ducks want to get revenge after a loss against the Trojans earlier this season.

Junior Guard Will Richardson

Richardson, the Ducks left-handed guard is another offensive weapon that can explode in the scoring category during any game.

In his team’s one game of March Madness, Richardson scored 19 points, hitting 7-out-of-10 shots from the floor, including three triples, while adding six rebounds and seven assists to his stat sheet.

Richardson played all 40 minutes of the game, as the guard ran the offense to perfection in the second round. He shoots 41% from beyond the three point-line on the season. 

If Richardson continues to have the hot hand, he can help the Ducks score plenty of points against one of the best defenses in the country [USC].


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