Having won 10 out of their last 11 games, the (15-3, 4-1) USC Trojans found themselves ranked when the AP Poll was released on Monday. At #21, USC is ranked for the first time since 2008-09 when they had a dynamic duo of DeMar DeRozan and Taj Gibson (the Trojans made the tournament that year and lost to Michigan State in the second round.) USC heads up to Oregon to face the Oregon Ducks on Thursday and the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday.
Previewing the Ducks
At 14-4 and 3-2 in conference, the Oregon Ducks are on the path to make the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year, which would be a new school record for consecutive tourney appearances. Oregon will be coming off of a 91-87 loss to Colorado on Sunday. The Ducks are 11-0 at home this year and are led by the duo of Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey. Brooks had a great freshman season last year and has followed that up by leading the Ducks in scoring in 2015-16. Dorsey is averaging 15.8 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game and scored in double digits in both of the meetings between the schools last year. The 2015 Gatorade California State Player of the Year, Dorsey has adjusted to college basketball well as he is second on the team with 14.2 points per game and is shooting 45% from beyond the arc.
Previewing the Beavers
Oregon State enters this weekend with a 11-5 record but three of those losses have come in Pac-12 play and the Beavers benefited from a soft non-conference schedule (besides a loss @Kansas). Senior guard Gary Payton II does everything for the Beavers. He leads the team in points (17.3 ppg), rebounds (8.3 per game), and assists (5.1 per game). The son of nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton Sr., Payton II will most likely have an NBA future as he does it all and will be a handful for the Trojans defense. Freshman forward Tres Tinkle is second on the team in scoring (11.7 ppg) and rebounds (5.0). The son of head coach Wayne Tinkle, the Montana native has scored in double-digits in three of the five Pac-12 games the Beavers have played in.
USC faces Oregon on Thursday at 6:00 P.T. and Oregon State 12:00 P.T. on Sunday. Both games can be seen on Pac-12 Network.