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USC to play Virginia Commonwealth in NCAA tournament opener

The Trojans would advance to a second-round game against sixth-seeded Georgetown with a victory on Wednesday.

March 13, 2011|By Baxter Holmes
  • Coach Kevin O'Neill huddles with his USC players during a Pac-10 game against Washington last week.
Coach Kevin O'Neill huddles with his USC players during a Pac-10 game… (Joe Nicholson / US Presswire )

USC has advanced to the NCAA tournament and the Trojans (19-14) will face Virginia Commonwealth University (23-11) on Wednesday in a first-round game in Dayton, Ohio.

If the Trojans beat the Rams, they will face sixth-seeded Georgetown (21-10) in Chicago in a second-round game on Friday. USC has never faced Virginia Commonwealth or Georgetown. Two victories and USC would play the winner of third-seeded Purdue and 14th-seeded St. Peters.

The Trojans' tournament resume was boosted by five wins against teams ranked in the top 50 of the Ratings Percentage Index and a schedule that ranked 39th nationally in terms of strength.

The team watched from the locker room with USC Coach Kevin O'Neill, who was reinstated Sunday morning after serving a one-game suspension in the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament. O'Neill served that suspension for an altercation he was involved in Thursday night at a hotel with an Arizona booster.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden, who issued O'Neill's suspension, said in a statement Sunday that O'Neill would also face "additional institutional discipline and a fine," but O'Neill is expected to coach USC in Wednesday's game.

USC was ineligible to compete in a postseason tournament last season, serving a university-imposed postseason ban relating to allegations of scandal surrounding former coach Tim Floyd and former USC star O.J. Mayo.

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