(11) Arizona (23-4) at USC (12-15)
Wednesday, February 27, 9:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Galen Center (10,258) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Arizona 13-2, USC 8-6. Away Record: Arizona 7-2, USC 3-7. Neutral Record: Arizona 3-0, USC 1-2. Conference Record: Arizona 11-4, USC 7-7. Series Record: Arizona leads, 61-40.
GAME NOTES: The No. 11 Arizona Wildcats will begin a swing through Los Angeles with a Pac-12 Conference bout with the USC Trojans at the Galen Center on Wednesday night.
Arizona has won three straight contests entering this game as it has improved to 23-4 overall. The Wildcats are 11-4 in league action which has them tied with No. 24 Oregon for the top spot in the Pac-12 with the end of the regular season on the horizon.
A pair of setbacks in its last two outings has USC back in reverse after a four-game winning streak. USC has fallen to 12-15 overall on the season, while splitting its 14 league bouts. At the Galen Center the Trojans have taken in eight wins in 14 games.
Four players scored in double figures led by Nick Johnson with 14 points when Arizona eased past USC, 74-50, in the first game between these teams this season. The Wildcats have now won four straight games in the all-time series which they lead, 61-40.
Arizona hosted Washington State last time out and rolled to a 73-56 victory. The Wildcats shot 55.6 percent from the floor and nailed 11 shots from beyond the 3-point arc in the victory. Kevin Parrom led the way with 19 points, knocking down 5-of-6 from long distance.
Efficient shooting has made Arizona one of the better offensive teams in the Pac-12. Though the Wildcats rank just third in the league in field-goal percentage they still shoot a solid 45.2 percent from the field, while ranking second in the Pac-12 in scoring (73.4 ppg). That has allowed for the Wildcats to earn a sizable scoring margin (+11.1) on the campaign. Mark Lyons (15.2 ppg) is the leading scorer after transferring from Xavier. The 6-foot-1 guard has scored in double figures in eight straight games. Solomon Hill (13.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is an athletic forward in the frontcourt. Johnson (11.7 ppg) adds some scoring punch from the backcourt.
Against cross-town rival UCLA, the Trojans were really outgunned on their home floor last time out. USC shot just 35.3 percent from the floor and was outscored 19-6 from the free-throw line in the setback. J.T. Terrell paced USC with 17 points.
USC has not had as much success as the Wildcats on the offensive end this season. The Trojans rank in the bottom three in the conference in points (66 pg), field-goal percentage (.426) and rebounding (35.6 pg). Terrell (11.2 ppg) is a member of the backcourt trio that leads the way for USC. Byron Wesley (10.3 ppg) and Jio Fontan (9.6 ppg, 5.1 apg) are also strong performers from the guard position, although Fontan is the primarily ball-handler and distributor. Terrell and Fontan have struggled with consistency though as each shoots below 36 percent from the floor. Eric Wise (11.9 ppg) is the leading scorer on the roster but has failed to score in double figures in three of the last five games.
Though USC has a solid group in the backcourt their inconsistencies have gotten the better of them more often than not. Against one of the top teams in the conference the Trojans will likely keep struggling.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 75, USC 67
02/27 10:36:25 ET