Arizona vs USC Preview
Following a fairly embarrassing loss to UCLA, Arizona will look to salvage the week against USC on Saturday. The Trojans are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to ASU in a game where both teams nearly reached the century mark. USC had to overcome a 6 point deficit in the final 30 seconds of regulation just to force the extra period.
USC is a team in transition following Kevin O’Neill’s mid-season dismissal. However, the lack of a head coach doesn’t appear to have hurt the Trojans so far. USC is only 1-2 since O’Neill packed his bags, but that includes down to the wire losses against Oregon and ASU. Style wise, the Trojans have turned a complete 180 under their interim coach, Bob Cantu. Gone are the days of a slow, plodding “let’s try to win games without scoring” USC approach. The new philosophy is to push the pace, which should at least make for an entertaining game.
No player has benefited from the change more than J.T. Terrell. The scoring minded junior has flourished recently, averaging 17.7 points over the last three games. He gets help from forward Eric Wise and guard Byron Wesley, who both average double figures. Jio Fontan is an electrifying player who fuels the Trojan attack. The diminutive guard averages a team high five assists. He’s also capable of scoring in bunches; he poured in 25 points against ASU. Dewayne Dedmon anchors USC in the post. He’s not an explosive player, but he contributes a solid seven points and seven rebounds per contest. Outlook:
It is unthinkable that Arizona would allow itself to be swept at home by the L.A. schools. Of course, it was also unthinkable that Arizona would fall behind 19-3 at home against UCLA in front of a raucous white clad McKale Center crowd. So who knows?
USC is a better team than its record indicates, as the Trojans played a ridiculously tough out of conference schedule. Furthermore, they are playing with more offensive freedom now, which renders early season results somewhat obsolete.
Still, the Wildcats have proven to be resilient. Arizona bounced back after the Oregon loss by beating Oregon State and trashing the Sun Devils. The Wildcats haven’t lost to a sub par team all season. They should be focused and ready to take care of business against USC.