Paul Sancya/Associated Press
Andy Enfield has finally taken USC to the Sweet 16.
Eight years after arriving in Southern California, the former Florida Gulf Coast coach has the No. 6 Trojans dancing for another week thanks to an 85-51 victory over No. 3 Kansas on Monday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks’ starting lineup was finally back at full strength Monday after Jalen Wilson returned from COVID-19 protocol, but it wasn’t enough to help contain super freshman Evan Mobley and the USC offense. The win snaps a Trojans Sweet 16 drought dating back to 2007 and is the surest sign yet that Enfield has the program trending up.
Kansas will head home after failing to reach the second weekend for just the fourth time in the last 14 years, while USC moves on to face No. 7 Oregon for the right to play in the Elite Eight.
Isaiah Mobley, F, Southern California Trojans: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Evan Mobley, F, Southern California Trojans: 10 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists
Marcus Garrett, G, Kansas Jayhawks: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas Jayhawks: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Mobley Brothers Lead Trojans To Sweet 16
Evan Mobley was supposed to be the player who carried USC this season.
His brother Isaiah had plenty to say about that.
The elder Mobley posted a career performance against the Jayhawks, draining a personal-best four three-pointers after failing to sink more than two during the regular season. Meanwhile, Evan was busy distracting last season’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Garrett, in the paint and helping his fellow Trojans get open.
That allowed USC to take a 19-point lead into halftime and turn the second half into an even bigger blowout.
The Trojans assisted on 18 of their 32 field goals, outrebounded the Jayhawks 43-27 and saw five players score in double figures.
Isaiah Mobley started that all off by knocking down his first three shots from behind the arc and proving there was more than just Evan to worry about.
Now the Trojans are heading to the Sweet 16 for the first time in more than a decade and look ready to dance long into April. The way Enfield has the team playing, there’s little to suggest that won’t happen.
Kansas Offense Can’t Keep Up
The Kansas Jayhawks fielded one of the worst shooting teams of the Bill Self era this year, averaging 44.1 percent on field goals and 34.6 percent on three-pointers.
KU fought to a 21-8 record despite its offensive woes, though there were plenty of warning signs that any missteps elsewhere would lead to trouble. First was a season-opening loss to Gonzaga, then a three-game Big 12 losing streak in January and finally a crushing overtime loss to Texas in a litmus-test matchup.
It all came to a head Monday against USC as the Jayhawks offense stalled from the opening tipoff, leading to the worst NCAA tournament loss in program history.
Head coach Bill Self put an undersized Marcus Garrett on Trojans star Evan Mobley with disastrous results while redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson—the team’s second-best defender—played limited minutes due to both foul trouble and a week-plus layoff.
Jesse Newell @jessenewell
Self on Jayhawk Gameday Live: “(Jalen)’ll play. He was here for shoot-around today, and it was good to have him back. … But we’re not full strength tonight. Jalen’s not and David’s not.” Self says as long as Jalen can get up/down court, he’ll help KU with his rebounding vs. USC
The Jayhawks were outmatched in every way, and it somehow looked worse than that.
Big man David McCormack tallied five points, Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun combined for 3–of–14 behind the arc, and the Jayhawks opened up shooting 4-of-20 overall.
A confounding Kansas season ends with the school’s worst loss in tournament history and sends Self in search of answers for next year.
USC will tip off in the Sweet 16 against No. 7 Oregon next week in Indianapolis. No game time has been set as of Monday night.