One down and three more to go for the USC Trojans. After defeating Arizona in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, USC faces another must win situation as it faces the No. 1 seeded Washington Huskies. Due to finishing in the top four, the Huskies received a bye in the conference tournament and come in well rested. Washington finished the regular season with a 24-7 overall record, going 15-3 in the Pac-12 earning itself the 2018-19 Pac-12 regular season championship. Washington and USC only met once this season where the Huskies defeated the Trojans 75-62 in Seattle.
The Huskies are led by Pac-12 player of the year in sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell who is also the teams leading scorer averaging 16.3 points per game. The Huskies also have two more players averaging double figures in guard David Crisp and Noah Dickerson. Washington also has the best defensive player in the Pac-12 in Mattise Thybulle in its starting line up. USC will have its hands full with a Huskies team who is currently a lock to make the NCAA Tournament.
Washington has had its share of struggles late into the season. Back in late February, the Huskies were defeated by a then winless Cal team on the road, played a close game against Stanford and Oregon State, and were defeated by Oregon at home. If there’s any time for the Trojans to defeat the conference’s top team, it’s now.
USC will need another performance from team leading scorer in Bennie Boatwright. The senior forward had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the teams 78-65 win against Arizona. Boatwright’s offense gave the Trojans the spark it needed during their huge scoring runs against the Wildcats. They will also need a repeat performance from guard Derryck Thornton, who added 12 points off the bench. The Trojans will also need more production from junior forward Nick Rakocevic who scored six points and was in foul trouble for a good chunk of the game. Defensively USC will need to get solid stops and stay out of foul trouble.
Again USC’s only hope to make the NCAA Tournament is by winning the conference tournament and securing the automatic bid. They have a tall task in that road by facing the Washington Huskies. An upset could go a long way for the Trojans moving forward.