Friar Basketball

It’s USC…Again

USC Team pic

Providence broke USC’s heart in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament when Rodney Bullock made a last second field goal to give PC a 70-69 victory. A year later the two teams will be back at it again.

The circumstances are different this year, as the two teams will meet in a play-in game on Wednesday night in Dayton (9:10pm).

Here are some quick hit notes about USC:

  • They were 21-4 a week into February, with two of those losses coming to powerhouses Oregon and Arizona. USC then lost four straight games, but in fairness, three of those four losses came against teams ranked #6 or higher at the time (#5 Oregon, #6 UCLA, #4 Arizona).
  • The Trojans were eliminated from their conference tournament on Thursday with a 76-74 loss to UCLA. They started miserably in that game, making just one of their first 14 shots, but fought their way back and had several shots in the final minute to tie it. Here are highlights from the UCLA game:

  • Providence fans are familiar with USC’s core. Elijah Stewart and Jordan McLaughlin are both junior guards who combined to score over 25 points per game. Stewart was very nearly teammates with PC junior Kyron Cartwright. They were both committed to Loyola Marymount, but a coaching change in the spring of their senior seasons of high school led to both de-committing and heading elsewhere. McLaughlin was outstanding against Providence last year, scoring 15 points to go along with five assists, five rebounds, and four steals against All American Kris Dunn.
  • USC’s two leading scorers are big men. 6’10 Bennie Boatright missed nearly two months to injury, but returned in early February and has scored 20+ in four games since. Boatright will fire away from deep, consistently launching 7-9 3-point attempts a game. The Friars should do their best to keep him off the line — Boatright shot 92% from the stripe this season.
  • 6’11 Chimezie Metu doubled his production in his sophomore season, scoring 14 a game and grabbing nearly eight rebounds. His season high was 29 points against Washington St., and he had a 15 point, 12 rebound double double at Arizona. Prior to an eight point outing in the conference tournament loss to UCLA Metu scored in double figures in 11 straight games.
  • They went undefeated in non-conference play, defeating SMU in late November.
  • Providence returns three players who logged heavy minutes against USC in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Bullock played the full 40 minutes and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jalen Lindsey sat for just a minute, while Cartwright had 10 points and six assists in 25 minutes off of the bench.

Twitter: @Kevin_Farrahar

Email: kevin.farrahar@friarbasketball.com

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