Pac-12 Tournament: UCLA vs. USC quarterfinal preview
LAS VEGAS – The 2015 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament opened on Wednesday in Sin City with a quality quartet of games that kept fans entertrained all day long.
How 'bout doing it all over again?
The MGM Grand Garden Arena will host four more contests on Thursday, as the quarterfinals will pit the conference's remaining eight teams against one another for a shot to advance to the semifinals. Fans can receive free access to Pac-12 Networks' broadcasts of Thursday's first three games (12 p.m. PT, 2:30 p.m. PT, and 6 p.m. PT) on Pac-12.com or the Pac-12 Now app, while the 8:30 p.m. PT tip-off will be shown on ESPN.
Here are key storylines for Thursday's second quarterfinal matchup pitting two rivals against one another:
(4) UCLA vs. (12) USC
Time: 2:30 p.m. PT
Outlook: There will be a lot of L.A. flavor in the building for the second contest on Thursday when the Bruins and Trojans battle it out.
USC is the No. 12 seed here, but the Trojans to be feeling confident after Wednesday's thrilling 67-64 comeback victory over No. 4 seed Arizona State, marking the tournament's first upset. But the Trojans want to keep this Cinderella run going, they'll have to slow down Norman Powell and a UCLA team trying to play its way into the NCAA Tournament.
For USC's Julian Jacobs, there's nothing wrong with being the underdog.
"That's how we approach every game," Jacobs said. "Being the last team in the Pac, teams can't really afford to lose to us. We're aware they're on the bubble of making the tournament and we'd love to stop them from making the tournament as well. And also, we've never beat them. So it would be a great win for us, too."
Elijah Stewart stole the show with 27 points against the Sun Devils on Wednesday, and he has to be considered the focus for UCLA's defense. If there's an area where the Bruins could exploit the Trojans, it's on the block. Nikola Jovanovic had a big block in Wednesday's win, but he'll need a lot of help against UCLA's imposing frontcourt that includes Kevon Looney, Tony Parker and Thomas Welsh.