To put in bluntly, Oregon isn't a very good basketball right now. Presently, the Ducks rank last in the Pac-10 at 4-10, and have won just two times in the past twelve games - not exactly encouraging signs from the Green and Gold backers. As a result, Ernie Kent's job is on the line as UO heads south to face a USC team still hoping to win the regular season Pac-10 title. But the Trojans, who are 1-4 against the bottom of the conference, need to take care of business at home before worrying about Cal and Arizona State, who are presently ranked ahead of the Trojans. And as usual, defense will be the key:
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC enters the game having allowed 1467 points in its first 26 games (56.4 ppg), its fewest through 26 games since allowing 1335 points in the first 26 games of the 1950-51 season. USC is fourth in the country in points allowed per game at 56.4. USC held 9 consecutive opponents to 56 points or less from Dec. 8-Jan. 6 (longest streak since 12 in the 1947-48 season). USC has held 15 opponents to 56 points or less this season and only twice has allowed more than 67 points (69 at Texas and 79 at Georgia Tech). The last time USC had just two games of allowing more than 67 points in a game was the 1949 season.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS -- Nikola Vucevic has led USC in rebounding for nine consecutive games (10.4 per game) and has grabbed seven or more boards in all but two games this season. Vucevic's 251 rebounds this season rank fourth all-time by a Trojan sophomore and he is just nine rebounds away from passing Taj Gibson(259) and moving into third place.
We've seen the Trojans stutter before so they can't take this one for granted. A win is an absolute must right now.