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derailed seeds

Derailed seeds

Best victories/worst losses: A season sweep of UCLA, sealed on a last-second three-pointer for the second straight season, probably feels the sweetest for USC. But a 72-58 win over Oregon on Feb.22 is its best performance on paper. The Trojans’ worst loss came shortly afterward, as USC lost 71-61 on Feb.27 in Salt Lake City to a Utah team that would finish 12-13. A victory over Houston in February marks Wichita State’s best win, while its worst loss was a 20-point defeat at Memphis. For Drake, a victory over Loyola is the most notable part of its resume. A loss at 12-16 Bradley last month … not so much.

Evan Mobley understands that burden, even if he’s never been here before. USC’s star freshman made clear last week that he’s primed for the postseason spotlight, scoring 52 points, securing 18 rebounds, blocking 10 shots and dishing out five assists over two games at the Pac-12 tournament, taking over in a way he hadn’t all season.

“I think Wichita is in Wichita, Kansas, and Drake is somewhere in the Midwest,” Enfield said. “I’d have to get my map out. Are they in Iowa?”

“It’s a big stage, and big players have to step up to the challenge,” Mobley said. “I just try to step up to the challenge, do everything I possibly can to help my team win. From now on, it could be our last game. I’m going to treat it that way and try to go all out.”

No. 6 USC vs. No. 11 Wichita State/Drake matchup

In the four years since USC last qualified for the NCAA tournament, coach Andy Enfield has endured every manner of Selection Sunday drama. In 2017, the Trojans barely snuck off the bubble and into the First Four as an 11th seed. The next year, they were snubbed in spite of a trip to the Pac-12 tournament final. Then, last season, just as USC hit its stride, the pandemic threw a wrench in its plans, canceling the tournament.

This year, there were no such theatrics for USC. Instead, the Trojans shared a few scoops of ice cream in a Las Vegas hotel conference room ahead of the bracket reveal, knowing full well they belonged in the field. When USC was announced as a sixth seed in the West Region, its highest seeding since its vacated tournament trip in 2008, the lack of surprise was a testament to how far USC had come in its best of eight seasons under Enfield.

Whether reminiscing is warranted just yet, the wait for this moment, especially after last year’s heartbreak, was certainly long for Enfield and USC. The Trojans will have to wait a few more days still to know their tournament opponent, as Wichita State (16-5) and Drake (25-4) face off in the First Four on Thursday. The winner will face the Trojans as an 11th seed Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the exact position USC was in during its only tournament run under Enfield.

SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M. PDT (TNT); AT INDIANAPOLIS

Any further than that and USC would face the likes of Iowa or Gonzaga, perhaps two of the only teams in the field capable of shutting down Mobley. But that’s exactly the type of test he was looking for when he signed with USC in 2019 as the highest-rated recruit in school history.

Local journalism is essential.

The train derailed about 1:30 a.m. on the western edge of Hammett in Elmore County, about 60 miles southeast of Boise. Approximately 28 cars derailed but there were no injuries, said railway spokesperson Robynn Tysver.

No cause was immediately available. The accident was under investigation and cleanup work has begun, Tysver said.

The train was carrying a mix of commodities, she said, adding that one of the cars spilled steel plates.

A Union Pacific train derailed early Sunday morning in central Idaho.

The track was closed to train traffic.

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