The second place USC Trojans (13-9, 6-3 Pac-12) look to get a big victory against the Utah Utes (11-10, 5-4 Pac-12) to keep the ball rolling on an impressive stretch that has seen them win four out of their last five games. A look at the matchup:
Matchup: Utah at USC
Location: Galen Center
Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Time: 8:00pm PT, 11:00pm EST
Where to watch: Pac-12 Network
Key Players to Watch
For the Trojans:
Bennie Boatwright: The senior big man is having an incredible season for the Trojans averaging 17.3 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game on 47.5% shooting from the field and 38.3% on threes. Boatwright is arguably having his best ten game stretch in a Trojan uniform, averaging 20 points per game with the Trojans going 7-3 during this span. He looks to continue his hot streak Wednesday night at home.
Nick Rakocevic: Beast. That’s the proper word to describe Rakocevic this season. With averages of 16.2 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game, Rakocevic is absolutely tearing up college basketball this season. If there was an award for Most Improved Player this season, Rakocevic would win it hands down. He is going to pose a real matchup problem for the Utes’ big men.
Jonah Matthews: The sharp shooting junior captain has been one of the Trojans’ most consistent players all year, appearing in all 24 games while failing to score 10 or more points in only 6 of those games. On the year, Matthews is averaging 12.4 points per game on 42.7% shooting from the three-point line while also providing 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He is going to need to play well if the Trojans are looking to squeeze out a victory.
For the Utes:
Sedrick Barefield: Barefield has been Mr. Do-It-All for the Utes this year, leading the team in scoring at 16.3 per game and in assists at 3.8 per game. Barefield, just like Boatwright, is having an incredible ten game stretch of his own. In the last ten games, Barefield is averaging 19.5 points, with his best game coming in a tough loss against the number 6 nationally ranked Nevada Wolf Pack where he is scored 33 points on 10-15 shooting from the field. USC guard Derryck Thornton is going to have a tough time covering him all game.
Timmy Allen: The former 4-star recruit from Mesa, Arizona is having as good a year as a freshman forward could possibly have. On the year, Allen is averaging 11.4 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game on a ridiculous 57.3% shooting from the field. Allen will need to play his best defensive game of the year against USC’s star forwards if the Utes want to grab a big road win.
Donnie Tillman: Sophomore guard Donnie Tillman has somehow found a way to get a lot better after a stellar freshman season that saw him provide key minutes off the bench for a 23-12 Utes team that just barely missed the Big Dance. This year, Tillman is averaging 10.9 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game on 45.2% shooting from the field and 38% from three. Tillman versus USC freshman Kevin Porter Jr. is going to be a matchup that could dictate which team comes out victorious.
This is a tough game to pick but I’m going to go with the home team. Barely.
USC 74 Utah 71