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Of all the big names coaching in this year’s NCAA tournament, there’s one who stands out above the rest when it comes to performance against the spread.
It might be one of the last names you think of, too.
That coach is USC’s Andy Enfield, who improved his NCAA tournament ATS record to a perfect 9-0 after his team dispatched Kansas to advance to the Sweet 16 on Monday night. The Trojans, the No. 6 seed in the West Region, jumped out to a 40-21 halftime lead and never looked back in an emphatic 85-51 victory.
The point spread in this one moved quite a bit at BetMGM. USC opened as a 1.5-point favorite before the line swung toward Kansas as a slight favorite (-1) and back to USC -1 and eventually USC -1.5 right before tip-off.
There was even a bettor at BetMGM who put down a whopping $360,000 on Kansas +2, buying a half-point at -120 odds. That bet never had much of a chance, however, as the Trojans, with brothers Isaiah and Evan Mobley leading the way, cruised to a decisive victory and covered the spread by a massive margin.
In the first round, USC beat No. 11 seed Drake 72-56 and covered the seven-point spread. Those two victories give Enfield a 9-0 ATS mark as a college head coach in the NCAA tournament. It’s a pretty remarkable stat for a coach who is generally perceived to have underachieved relative to the level of talent he has assembled at USC.
Enfield was an NBA assistant coach from 1994 to 2000 before leaving the coaching profession for a brief career in the business world. Eventually, though, he was coaxed back into coaching — this time at the college level. He joined Leonard Hamilton’s staff at Florida State in 2006 before landing the head-coaching gig at Florida Gulf Coast in 2011.
At FGCU, he infamously coached the squad known as “Dunk City” to the Sweet 16 in 2013. Enfield’s high-flying Eagles were a No. 15 seed, but managed to upset Georgetown in the first round and San Diego State in the second round. FGCU lost to Florida in the Sweet 16, but covered the spread in all three of its NCAA tournament games that year.
FGCU’s performance in March allowed Enfield to land the USC job. The Trojans struggled in his first two years, going a combined 5-31 in Pac-12 play. In Year 3, the Trojans reached the NCAA tournament but were bounced in the first round by Providence, 70-69. USC was a 2.5-point underdog in that one, so Enfield’s ATS streak continued.
The following season (2016-17), USC knocked off Providence in the First Four and then upset SMU in the first round before falling to Baylor in the Round of 32. USC was an underdog in each of those games, and covered the spread all three times.
Those performances put Enfield’s tournament ATS record at 7-0, but it would be three full seasons before he returned to the NCAA tournament. USC went to the NIT in 2018 and missed the postseason altogether in 2019, but likely would have earned a bid to last year’s Big Dance before it was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, though, USC is playing on the biggest stage once again and looking like a team poised for a deep run.
USC vs. Oregon in Sweet 16
USC’s win sets up a Pac-12 matchup in the Sweet 16 against Oregon, which trounced Iowa 95-80 earlier Monday.
It also sets up an intriguing matchup for bettors who have been riding the postseason success of both Enfield and Oregon head coach Dana Altman. In 20 NCAA tournament games under Altman, the Ducks are 16-4 against the spread, including a 9-1 mark as an underdog.
Entering the USC game, Oregon has covered the spread in seven consecutive NCAA tournament games. The Ducks were five-point underdogs Monday against Iowa.
Oregon now has five Sweet 16 appearances under Altman after having three in its entire history before he arrived on campus in 2010. For USC, it’s the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2007.
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