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USC Trojans Game Preview & How to Watch

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Can the Huskies end their losing streak against a team they beat by 32 points earlier in the season?

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 2/13/20

Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KOMO 1000

Streaming: Espn.com/watch

Location: Los Angeles, California

Betting line: Washington +3.5

USC 2019-20 Statistics:

Record: 17-7 (6-5)

Points For per Game: 72.2 ppg (121st)

Points Against per Game: 67.9 ppg (127th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 105.4 (118th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 93.6 (42nd)

Strength of Schedule: 57th overall

USC Key Players

C- Onyeka Okongwu, Fr. 6’9, 245: 16.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 60.9% FG, 74.2% FT

F- Nick Rakocevic, Sr. 6’11, 225: 11.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 46.7% FG, 45.0% 3pt, 63.0% FT

G- Elijah Weaver, So. 6’6, 210: 6.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 41.6% FG, 32.8% 3pt, 62.5% FT

G- Jonah Mathews, Sr. 6’3, 205: 13.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.0 apg, 37.1% FG, 36.9% 3pt, 71.8% FT

G- Ethan Anderson, Fr. 6’1, 210: 5.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 38.6% FG, 38.5% 3pt, 55.6% FT

2019-20 USC Shot Chart

Synergy Sports

The Trojans have only really been well above average from straight away behind the 3-point line. They’ve been particularly atrocious on midrange jumpers which is what the Huskies will give them. If they miss their first couple attempts from there it is liable to get inside their heads which is when Washington’s defense starts to look unstoppable. Lately though teams aren’t missing that shot against the Huskies.

The Outlook

Has a team ever felt less confident about a rematch when they won the first game by 32 points? Washington obviously enters this contest minus Quade Green who had 14 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals in the initial game.

Since that first meeting Washington is a woeful 1-8 including a 6 game losing streak. USC had the opposite reaction as they were seemingly inspired and subsequently won 6 of their next 7 games with the lone loss in that time coming in double OT at Oregon. However they’ve been tailing off recently with a 3 game losing streak including a pair of narrow losses at the Arizona schools by a combined 7 points.

USC has found their success in conference play by going with a bully ball style which shouldn’t be surprising considering their front court of Okongwu and Rakocevic. The Trojans are the top team in the Pac-12 in drawing fouls and 3rd in offensive rebound rate. The Huskies were dominant on the defensive end in that first game as Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart combined for 8 blocks and USC saw shadows before every shot attempt. It was the kind of defensive intimidation that Matisse Thybulle inspired every night. And it hasn’t been present in weeks with the current Husky squad.

The Trojans have tightened up on the defensive end in conference play with 4 games holding opponents below 60 points. They’re strongest on the interior letting Okongwu protect the rim and the Huskies have to hope they trust him to guard Stewart 1v1 again. Washington’s offense has particularly faltered when opponents double him and cause UW to waste the first 15-20 seconds of every possession futilely trying to get it to him in the post.

Given the quality of opponent and score, last Sunday’s game against Washington State was likely the worst performance of the season. If the Huskies have any chance at recapturing some of their mojo from earlier in the year at this point you’d think it might come against a team they already dismantled once. But we’ve officially reached the point where it’s insanity to pick a Washington victory until they do it.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 62, USC Trojans- 72

*****

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