USC Vs. Washington: Men’s Basketball Preview


Mar 3, 2013, Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard C.J. Wilcox (23) is introduced before a game against the Washington State Cougars at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans vs. Washington Huskies

Explore Alaska Airlines Arean | Pullman Washington

8:30 PM PST | Pac-12 Network

The USC Trojans are looking to win three-straight games for the second time in just over a month, taking on a hungry Washington Huskies squad that seeks to salvage its largely disappointing season.

Both teams sit in the middle of the Pac-12 standings and want to make a late run in the season’s final week. The Trojans can rise to fourth, if they win out and Arizona loses their final game. The Huskies can rise to fifth with two victories and some help from the Oregon schools who travel to Colorado.

After winning two straight at home over the Arizona schools, USC comes in with confidence on both ends of the floor. The Trojans drubbed the Wildcats 89-78 behind a balanced scoring effort, with five players scoring in double figures. Winning against the 11th-ranked team in the nation looked simple, as the Trojans outgunned the Wildcats by making 61-percent of their shots.

In a tremendous defensive showcase, the Trojans limited Arizona State to a season-low 20 first-half points. The Sun Devils struggled to convert anything from the field, shooting eight percent from downtown and even 63-percent from the charity stripe.

The Huskies have won three out of their last four games, reviving their season when it matters most. Victories over rival Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State have brought life to the offense, averaging 70 points in those victories. Sadly for Washington, Lorenzo Romar’s team has been very streaky this season, starting Pac-12 play 4-0 before dropping seven of eight.

Let’s review the tape for a second, to get a better idea of this crucial matchup. These teams first met on February 10th, a game that USC won 71-60 at the Galen Center. The Trojans impressively assisted on 18 of their 25 made field goals, and shot 90-percent from the free throw line. JT Terrell led all scorers with 18 points in one of his finest games of the season.

Although USC played nearly flawless basketball, they once again allowed Washington to sneak right back into the game. JT Terrell nailed a three that erupted the Galen Center crowd, as USC led 35-16 with about five minutes left in the first half. Scott Suggs led the charge for UW with his team-high 16 points, slicing the lead to five late in the contest, giving the fans another reason to worry.

The Huskies rely heavily on their perimeter scoring to carry the offense, led by the aforementioned Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Abdul Gaddy. Wilcox may be the biggest threat of the trio leading the team in scoring while posting 13 games with 20 points or more. Gaddy is the main facilitator dishing out over four assists per game. The Huskies point guard can also blow past defenders and elevate at the rack.

Despite the Huskies scoring presence on the perimeter, the battle in the paint could ultimately decide the winner of this fairly even contest. Aziz N’Diaye is fifth in the conference in rebounding (9.2 RPG) and can control the paint with his tenacity and shear girth down low.

Let’s not forget the game is in Washington; this is a place where USC has surprisingly won two out of their last three meetings. This intense matchup pits two teams desperate for wins, but heading in relatively different directions before the Pac-12 tournament.

USC (14-15, 9-7)

Washington (16-13, 8-8)