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USC Men’s Basketball: Trojans are headed to the 2016 NCAA Tournament as a #8 seed taking on the #9 Providence Friars in the opening round.

After a great start but a shaky finish the USC Trojans Men's basketball team is headed to the 2016 NCAA Tournament as a number 8 seed.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 2016 The Trojans will be returning to the NCAA Tournament as a #8 seed taking on the #9 seed the Providence Friars in the East Region. The Trojans tip off tournament play Thursday March 17th. The winner will advance to likely play number one seed North Carolina Tar Heels.

The USC Trojans men's basketball team started the 2015-16 season red hot but struggled late. The Trojans were dominant at the Galen Center but like many Pac-12 teams this year they struggled away from home. The Trojans were 9-9 in the conference and 21-12 overall. November, December, and January were great months for the program, but things came off the rails in the month of February when the Trojans went just 2-5 during that time.

The year was filled with many ups and downs as well as notable highlights. The Trojans were able to soundly defeat the UCLA Bruins on three separate occasions this season. USC also won a dramatic quadruple-overtime victory over the highly-Arizona Wildcats on January 9th. Unfortunately, the Trojans also struggled against the top four teams in the Pac-12 Conference. USC lost twice to conference champion and #1 seed Oregon Ducks The Trojans also lost twice to conference runner up the Utah Utes once of which knocked USC out of the Pac-12 Tournament. USC split with Arizona and lost in their only contest against the Cal Bears.

USC has only made sporadic appearances in the 2016 NCAA Tournament in their history. The last appearance in the Tournament was 2011. During that year the Trojans were an 11th seed and lost to Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) 59-46 in the first round (a first four game).

Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi of ESPN projected USC as a 9th seed so Trojans coming in as an 8 seed was not too far off. The full east region is below:

Here is the full printable 2016 NCAA Tournament Bracket: