USC (10-19) at Washington State (9-19)
GAME NOTES: The two teams at the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference standings get together on Thursday night, as the USC Trojans visit the Washington State Cougars.
The beginning of the Andy Enfield era at USC has been a disastrous one. The Trojans have dropped all but one of their 16 league bouts, with losses in 10 straight overall. They are also only 10-19 overall, with a trip to Washington all that is left on the schedule following this contest.
Washington State has been just a bit better than USC in league play (2-14), but its has been worse overall (9-19). The Cougars were routed by rival Washington, 72-49, last time on the floor, marking their seventh straight loss. They will finish the campaign this Saturday against UCLA.
These teams split the season series a year ago, but this is the only scheduled meeting this time around. The Cougars have won four of the last five matchups overall, but the Trojans lead the all-time series by a 69-46 margin.
Pe'Shon Howard scored 20 points, but he couldn't keep USC from falling to Oregon last Saturday, the Trojans falling in a 78-63 final. USC only connected on 42.9 percent of its shots from the floor, while coming out on the short end of a 35-26 margin on the boards.
Enfield was supposed to infuse some of the excitement from his days coaching Florida Gulf Coast into this Trojans squad. With most of the campaign in the rearview mirror, it is clear that it will take some time. USC is next-to-last in the Pac-12 in both scoring (70.6 ppg) and field goal percentage (.439). Byron Wesley (17 ppg, 6.6 rpg) has done the heavy lifting offensively, with J.T. Terrell (10.2 ppg) and Howard (10.9 ppg, 4 apg) the only other double- digit scorers on the roster. Wesley finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench against Oregon. Terrell and Howard haven't usually been up to the task of being the lead options, as each shoots below 40 percent from the field.
Washington State was even more thoroughly defeated when it last hit the floor, falling in a 72-49 rout to in-state rival Washington. DaVonte Lacy scored a game-high 25 points, but the Cougars only finished with 14 field goals on 31.1 percent shooting.
The Cougars are the only team scoring at a less impressive rate than the Trojans this season. The gap between them is rather large, however, with the Cougars putting in only 61.8 ppg and shooting 40.4 percent from the field. They are also last in the Pac-12 in both assists (10.4 apg) and rebounds (32.6 rpg). Lacy (19.6 ppg) has been the one and only bright spot. Since returning from an injury that kept him out for most of January, Lacy has scored in double figures in eight straight games. D.J. Shelton (9.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg), is a rebounding machine, coming off a 15-rebound effort against Washington, but he isn't a consistent scorer.
Offense should be at a premium in this duel, as neither team has had much luck on offense. The difference in the game may come down to Washington State being fortunate enough to be the host.
GAME NOTES: The two teams at the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference standings get
together on Thursday night, as the USC Trojans visit the Washington State
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (11,671) -- Pullman, Washington.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USC 8-8, WSU 6-7. Away Record: USC 1-9, WSU
1-10. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, WSU 2-2. Conference Record: USC 1-15, WSU 2-14.
Series Record: USC leads, 69-46.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 11 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Washington State 68, USC 65