USC Opens Up Against Arizona State At Pac-12 Tournament|
March 9, 2015
The No. 12 seed USC Trojans (11-19, 3-15) will face the No. 5 seed Arizona State Sun Devils (17-14, 9-9) in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 11 at 2:30 p.m. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network and on ESPNLA 710. The winner of this game will face No. 4 seed UCLA on March 12 at 2:30 p.m.
BREAKING DOWN ASU -- Arizona State won five of its last seven games to capture the No. 5 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. ASU defeated USC 64-59 in Tempe, Ariz. on Feb. 22 in the only meeting between the two schools this season. ASU enjoyed a 26-5 advantage in free throw attempts in that game. Shaquielle McKissic (11.8), Gerry Blakes (11.2) and Savon Goodman (11.0) all average double figures in scoring. USC leads the all-time series 50-38 (reflects 2 wins vacated by USC due to NCAA penalty). USC is 2-0 vs. ASU at the conference tournament (win in 2008 vacated, original record 3-0). USC defeated ASU 66-63 in the 2009 title game.
USC FALLS IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE AT UCLA -- USC saw UCLA utilize a 25-7 run in the middle of the first half to open up a 15 point lead and the Bruins answered every Trojan challenge in an 85-74 loss in Westwood on March 4. UCLA led 46-35 at the half and six times USC cut the lead to 7 or 8 points in the second half, but could get no closer. USC shot 56.5 percent in the second half and 55.3 percent for the game, its second best this season, but could not catch the Bruins who had 22 second-chance points. USC made 11 three-pointers and its 57.9 percent shooting from behind the arc was its best since making 60 percent vs. Arizona on Feb. 27, 2013 (6-for-10). Katin Reinhardt led USC with 22 points and made 5 of 7 from 3-point range, while Elijah Stewart was 4-for-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points. Nikola Jovanovic added 16 points and 5 rebounds. Bryce Alford with 23 points (5 of 6 from 3-point range) and Tony Parker with 22 led the Bruins. USC committed 18 turnovers which led to a 22-8 advantage for the Bruins on points off of turnovers. USC used a season-low seven players in the game. The teams played to a 39-all tie in the second half.
USC AT THE PAC-12 TOURNAMENT -- USC is 12-14 all-time at the conference tournament (reflects 1 USC win vacated due to NCAA penalty). USC has lost its last 4 Pac-12 Tourney games.
JUST HOW YOUNG ARE THEY...? -- According to Statsheet.com, USC ranks as the fourth-youngest team in the country and first among the Power 5 conferences in terms of minutes played by class. Among the top 12 teams listed in terms of youngest rosters, only three have a winning record and one of those is No. 1 Kentucky. USC is one of three of those 12 youngest teams to have a strength of schedule ranked in the top 80. Conversely, 17 of the 23 "oldest" rosters have a record of .500 or better. USC is one of only 15 teams in the country without a senior and the Trojans have had only one scholarship junior (Strahinja Gavrilovic) play this season.
TEAM TROJAN -- USC has seven players averaging over 5.0 points per game and one at 4.9 points per game. The last time USC had eight players average over 5.0 points for a season was the 2004-05 season. USC has had 10 different players lead the team or tie for game-high scoring this season and has had six tie for or lead USC in rebounding and assists in a game.
STRONG FRESHMAN FOUNDATION -- USC has three players ranking in the top 11 among all Pac-12 freshmen in scoring, rebounding and steals. Jordan McLaughlin (Pac-12 All-Freshman Team selection) leads all Pac-12 freshmen with 1.50 steals and 4.55 assists per game. McLaughlin's assist total (100) ranks 9th on USC's all-time freshman list. Elijah Stewart ranks 6th all-time in blocks by a Trojan freshman with 35, third among conference freshmen.
UCLA ON DECK -- If USC were to win today its next game would be against the No. 4 seed UCLA (19-12, 11-7). USC lost 85-74 at UCLA on March 4, the last regular season game. UCLA also defeated USC 83-66 on Jan. 14 at the Galen Center and leads the all-time series with USC, 137-104 (reflects a USC win in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty). All 5 of UCLA's starters are averaging over 10 points per game with its next highest-scoring player at 3.7 points per game.
GETTING DEFENSIVE -- USC has held its last four opponents to a combined 38.1 shooting percentage (90-for-236), including holding Washington to 29.7 percent (19-for-64) on Feb. 28 which was the lowest percentage by a Trojan opponent since holding UC Riverside to 19.0 percent on Dec. 12, 2012. The Trojans have held their last 13 opponents to a combined 41.5 percent (318-for-767). Entering conference play, USC had held its opponents to 38.9 percent shooting from the floor, including 29.3 percent from three-point range. Still, USC has held 14 of 30 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 41.9 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent. USC has held 5 of its last 8 opponents to 22 field goals or less after accomplishing the feat 5 times in the first 22 games.
FASTBREAK FUN -- In USC's 11 wins this season it has outscored the opposition 128-39 on fastbreak points. USC had more fastbreak points than its opponent in 9 of the 11 games with two games in which they had two less points than the opponent. USC has out-dunked its opponents 71-54 this season. USC's dunk leaders in 2014-15 are: Julian Jacobs - 18, Malik Martin - 15, Nikola Jovanovic -14, Darion Clark -11.
JACOBS CLIMING THE LADDER -- Guard Julian Jacobs has averaged 11.9 points (83 total), 6.6 rebounds (46 total) and 7.0 assists (49 total) in the last seven games. His 75 assists in Pac-12 play ranks sixth among all conference players. He also ranks 14th in field goal percentage and is tied for 13th steals in Pac-12 play.
KATIN'S SCORING SURGE -- USC guard Katin Reinhardt has averaged 15.4 points per game (185 total) in the last 12 games. Reinhardt leads the team with a 13.5 scoring average in conference games which ranks 16th among Pac-12 players.
THE MAGIC MARK OF 61 -- USC has held the opposition to 56, 57, 55 and 55 in its last four wins and is 8-1 when allowing the opposition 61 points or less this season.