One of the biggest surprises in the first round was USC being able to take down SMU. USC had to defeat Providence in the play-in game, and they used a ridiculous comeback in the second half to do so. Against SMU, USC used another second-half comeback to defeat SMU.
One of the top performers for USC was Junior guard Elijah Stewart. During the season, Stewart averaged just over 12 points per game. In the win against SMU, he nearly doubled his season average with 22 points.
Stewart’s shooting from three-point range was one of the differences in the game. As a team, USC shot under 30 percent, but Stewart shot six-for-13 from deep. USC is the latest team to have success after playing the extra game before the tournament.
After a poor game against Providence, Stewart really bounced back nicely for USC. In the win against Providence, Stewart didn’t score a point in 31 minutes of action. Against a better SMU team, Stewart played much better for the Trojans. USC won’t have much time to enjoy the win, as they will be playing Baylor in the next round. With momentum on their side now, USC might be able to pull off another upset.