TULSA, Okla. – Both Baylor coach Scott Drew and USC coach Andy Enfield see a lot of similarities in the seasons of the two teams.
The Bears won their first 15 games and reached No. 1 for the first time in school history before losing to West Virginia. The Trojans won their first 14 games before losing to Oregon.
“They’re a lot like us,” Enfield said. “They started out the year undefeated and they had some injuries like we did, and then they finished strong. I think it’s two very good basketball teams that have similar strengths, and I think it’s going to come down to who can execute what they do better.”
Southern Cal racking up the miles
It’s been a whirlwind week for USC after it squeezed into the NCAA tournament play-in game.
After pulling off a 75-71 win over Providence on Wednesday in Dayton, the Trojans flew to Tulsa where they rallied for a 66-65 win over SMU on Friday.
Though the Trojans are an 11th seed, Baylor coach Scott Drew doesn’t look at them as an underdog.
“If you’re in the tournament, you’ve won a lot of games, you’ve got talented players and you’re well coached,” Drew said. “So I don’t really look at the numbers as much. Now they’re healthy and they’re back to being one of the best in the country.”
Baylor’s big men pose threat inside
Though the Trojans have good size with 6-11 Chimezie Metu and 6-10 Bennie Boatright, Enfield is concerned about dealing with Baylor’s size in the paint.
That trio combined for 50 points, 25 rebounds and six blocked shots in Baylor’s 91-73 win over New Mexico State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
“They love the high-low action to use their size, so we have to be prepared for that,” Enfield said. “Motley has great footwork in the low post and he can also step out a little bit. But they’re also one of the best low-post scoring teams we’ve seen.”