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Pac-12 Tourney: USC Game Preview & How to Watch

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Washington looks to advance to the semifinals by upsetting the #3 seed Trojans

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Thursday, 3/10/22

Tip-Off Time: 8:30 pm PT (game could start later if UCLA/WSU game runs late since they are happening on the same court)

TV: FS1

Streaming: Foxsportsgo.com

Radio: Huskies Gameday App & Sports Radio KJR (now on 93.3 FM)

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +6.5

USC 2021-22 Statistics:

Record: 25-6 (14-6)

Points For per Game: 73.3 ppg (94th)

Points Against per Game: 66.0 ppg (70th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.7 (36th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.9 (53rd)

Strength of Schedule: 86th

USC Trojans Key Players:

G- Ethan Anderson, So. 6’1, 210: 5.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 39.1% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 38.9% FT

1st game against UW: 2 points, 3 assists, 2 turnovers

G- Boogie Ellis, Jr. 6’3, 185: 12.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 42.0% FG, 34.5% 3pt, 78.3% FT

1st game against UW: 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks

G- Drew Peterson, Jr. 6’9. 195: 11.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 47.7% FG, 41.9% 3pt, 67.5% FT

1st game against UW: 14 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds

F- Isaiah Mobley, So. 6'10, 240: 14.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 45.7% FG, 39.4% 3pt, 67.4% FT

1st game against UW: Didn’t Play (injury)

F- Chevez Goodwin, Sr. 6’9, 225: 11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 58.4% FG, 48.7% FT

1st game against UW: 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 11/14 FG

The Outlook

After a dominant 2nd half against Utah the Huskies managed to secure a win in the Pac-12 tournament for only the 2nd time under Mike Hopkins. Trying to get to the semifinals will be a much tougher task going up against the third-seeded Trojans. USC may be coming off an embarrassing thumping by the top-2 seeds in the conference to end the regular season but they are still clearly a cut above Utah or the rest of the teams below the Trojans

Washington ended up only losing by 10 the first time around against USC but UW trailed by 17 with 5 minutes left. It wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. That game also happened without Isaiah Mobley being available for USC who just so happens to be their best player. Not a great sign for the Huskies this time around. Of course you could also note that Washington played without starting guard Daejon Davis.

The availability of Davis may not help Washington’s biggest problem. USC center Chevez Goodwin eviscerated the Huskies and Nate Roberts down low for basket after basket in the paint. Defending USC around the rim is going to become even more challenging with Mobley around who is USC’s leading scorer at 6’10 and shooting 50% on his 2-point attempts. The Trojans are the 4th tallest team in the country and traditionally teams with that much length have given the Husky defense fits.

It’s also liable to give UW’s offense fits. USC ranks 3rd in the country in opponent 2-pt%. They have completely shut down the interior attack of just about every team they’ve faced. Washington last game against the Trojans was 16/44 (36%) on 2’s and only came close to 70 points because of an uncharacteristically good shooting night from outside plus getting to the foul line 25 times. UW is going to need to improve on their interior scoring while also staying hot from the 3-pt and free throw lines to have a shot at outscoring the Trojans.

We saw the Huskies go with a super-short rotation against Utah last night as only 7 total players got in the game and only 6 appeared in the 2nd half. Nate Roberts was the only traditional big we saw on the court for Washington. That approach isn’t likely to work against the size of USC and their propensity to draw fouls inside. Hopefully despite not playing on Wednesday, Langston Wilson and/or Riley Sorn can manage to put up some solid emergency minutes if/when called upon.

The Huskies are on a 3-game winning streak with Daejon Davis back in the starting lineup. For the first time since his initial injury he played on Wednesday without wearing anything to protect his shoulder. This is a better team with him fully healthy causing havoc on the perimeter with his defense. I don’t expect it to play a factor but it’s also worth noting that Andy Enfield agreed to a large contract extension last night. It does feel like coaches have a way of dropping off immediately after they’re sure that paycheck is going to keep coming (see: Hopkins, Tinkle, Ewing).

If Washington gets it done tonight it would be by far their best win of the season. Unfortunately, it’s a little late in the year for me to believe we’re suddenly going to see UW ascend to contest the upper crust of the conference. I think UW’s hopes at a magical run to either an NCAA auto-bid or NIT at-large bid come to end.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 66, USC Trojans- 76