USC (8-11) at Arizona State (14-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (10,754) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: USC 6-5, Arizona St. 11-2. Away Record: USC 1-4, Arizona St. 2-1. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, Arizona St. 1-1. Conference Record: USC 3-3, Arizona St. 3-2. Series Record: USC leads, 51-35.
GAME NOTES: After delivering their interim head coach his first win at the helm, the USC Trojans head to the desert for a pair of games against the Arizona schools, starting with Thursday night's Pac-12 bout with the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe.
Bob Cantu, who took over for Kevin O'Neill at USC, got his first win with the team in last weekend's thrilling 69-68 victory over Oregon State. With the win, USC has won two of its last three games, moving the team to 8-11 overall and pulling even in league play at 3-3.
Herb Sendek's Sun Devils have played extremely well over the course of the season, with 14 wins against just four losses. However, half of those defeats have come in the last two outings, with setbacks to Pac-12 powers Oregon (72-62) and most recently, arch-rival Arizona (71-54).
USC holds a 51-35 advantage in the series with Arizona State.
Aaron Fuller only had one basket in the game, but it was a crucial one, as his layup with under five seconds left, lifted USC to a one-point win over Oregon State. Byron Wesley led three Trojans in double figures with 19 points. Eric Wise was instrumental as well, pouring in 18 points, while J.T. Terrell finished with 11.
The Trojans have just about broken even when it comes to scoring (64.6 ppg) and scoring defense (64.9 ppg) leading to the team's less than desirable win total. Wise is the team's top offensive threat, connecting on 51.4 percent of his shots from the floor and posting 12.5 ppg. Terrell is the only other double-figure scorer at 10.1 ppg, although Wesley (9.8 ppg) comes in just under that mark.
The Sun Devils were no match for Arizona last weekend in a game that saw ASU shoot a rather disappointing .391 from the floor, including just a 5-of-20 effort from behind the arc. Jahii Carson continued his strong play however, netting a team-high 22 points. Fellow guard Evan Gordon also notched double digits in the loss with 14 points, but the remainder of the roster combined for a mere 18 points.
The Sun Devils have displayed much more consistency on the offensive end this year than they showed against the Wildcats. ASU comes into this contest averaging 71.6 ppg on a healthy .458 shooting. Carson, who is averaging 20.7 ppg over the last three games, has upped his scoring average to 17.3 ppg (fifth in the Pac-12). Carrick Felix is a viable second option at 14.6 ppg and leads the team in rebounding (7.9 rpg). Gordon adds perimeter support at 10.1 ppg), while 7-footer Jordan Bachynski is a force in the middle at 9.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game.
The Trojans have been much more competitive under Cantu, but winning in Tempe isn't likely. The Sun Devils have a balanced attack and the homecourt advantage tipping the scales in their favor in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 73, USC 64
01/24 10:36:52 ET