LOS ANGELES (CBS LA) – The USC men’s basketball team is in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time in 14 years. This is the second time that head coach Andy Enfield has led a program to the Round of 16 after he coached 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 in 2013.
Coach Enfield spoke with CBSLA’s Jim Hill about his team’s victories over Drake and Kansas, Evan and Isaiah Mobley and what it will take to make a deep run in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“We didn’t expect to beat Kansas by as many points as we did, but we did expect to win the game,” said Enfield. “Our players came very prepared mentally and were focused to prepare for Drake in our first round game and especially Kansas in our second game. Kansas is an exceptional basketball team and they had won nine out of 10. They were playing their best basketball late in the season. They’re exceptionally talented and offensively they are really hard to guard. They had a top 10 defense in the country. I thought it was going to be a very close basketball game. I was very proud of the way our players were able to pull away.”
The Trojans beat the number three seeded Jayhawks by over 30 points. Enfield’s squad will face the seven seeded Oregon Ducks on Sunday and he is really impressed with his team’s confidence going into the matchup.
“They are playing really well together and they believe in each other,” said Enfield. “At tournament time, you have to be very confident in what you are doing on the court. You have to have a good week of mental preparation. We’ve been in a hotel 14 straight days and counting. By the time our game rolls around on Sunday, we’ll have been in the hotel for 20 or 21 straight days. That’s hard on anybody, especially college-aged student athletes. I think they have to try and stay as focused as they can, but enjoy the moment and relax a little this week and get prepared the best they can for Sunday.”
Sunday’s game will be the second time the Ducks and Trojans battle on the hardwood. USC beat Oregon 72-58 in Los Angeles on February 22. The Mobley brothers have been menaces so far with Isaiah averaging 16 points and 6.5 rebounds and Evan averaging 13.5 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game thus far. USC has also held their opponents to just 13 of 48 shooting from beyond the arc.