No. 24 USC Men's Basketball Opens Pac-12 Tournament In Quarterfinals On Thursday
The No. 2 seed USC Trojans (21-6, 15-5) will face the winner of the first-round game between No. 8 seed Utah Runnin' Utes (11-12, 8-11) and the No. 10 seed Washington Huskies (5-20, 4-16) in a Pac-12 Quarterfinal game at T-Mobile Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 11 at 5:30 p.m.. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network with Ted Robinson and Bill Walton calling the action. Matt Muehlebach will provide courtside commentary. USC has won 20 or more games for the fifth time in its last six seasons under Andy Enfield. USC's 21-6 record is its best after 27 games since also being 21-6 during the 2017 season. The last time USC had a better record after 27 games was during the 1992 season when it was 22-5.
USC AT PAC-12 TOURNEY - USC went 1-1 at the 2019 Pac-12 Tournament, defeating Arizona (78-65) before falling to Washington (78-75) in the quarterfinals. USC is 18*-19 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament (1 win vacated due to NCAA penalty, original record 19-19). USC won the 2009 Pac-12 Tournament.
BREAKING DOWN UTAH -- The Utah Runnin' Utes (11-12, 8-11) are coming off a 98-59 home win over Arizona State on March 6. Timmy Allen leads Utah in both scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 rpg). USC and Utah split the season series with USC winning 64-46 in Los Angeles on Jan. 2 and Utah winning 71-61 in Salt Lake City on Feb. 27. USC trails in the all-time series with Utah, 21-26. USC is 0-2 all-time against Utah at the Pac-12 Tournament, falling 69-66 in 2013 and 80-72 in 2106.
BREAKING DOWN WASHINGTON -- The Washington Huskies (5-20, 4-16) are coming off a 75-74 loss at Arizona on Feb. 27. Washington lost its last three games, all on the road. Quade Green leads Washington with a 14.8 points per game average. USC swept the season series, winning 95-68 at home on Jan. 14 and 69-54 in Seattle, Wash. on Feb. 11. The all-time series is tied at 75-all (2 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty, original record 77-75). USC is 1-1 all-time against Washington at the Pac-12 Tournament, winning 78-78 in 2017 and falling 78-75 in 2019.
DEJA VU IN TROJAN WIN AGAINST UCLA -- Tahj Eaddy's 3-pointer from the left corner while falling out of bounds with 1.4 seconds remaining swished through the net and USC defeated UCLA 64-63 at Pauley Pavilion on March 6. it was USC's first lead of the game and made it consecutive regular season-ending game-winning 3-pointers by the Trojan wearing the No. 2 jersey to defeat UCLA, as USC ended the 2020 season with a game-winning 3-pointer by Jonah Mathews. USC trailed by as many as 13 points and by 8 points with 4 minutes remaining. After UCLA made 60 percent of its first-half shots, it was held to 42.3 percent in the second half. USC made 51.7 percent of its shots after the break to fuel the comeback. Evan Mobley led USC with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
MOBLEY'S HISTORIC HAUL OF PAC-12 AWARDS -- Evan Mobley was named the 2020-21 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on March 9. He became the first Pac-12 player to win all three awards in a single season and joined Anthony Davis of Kentucky (2011-12) as the only other major conference player to accomplish the feat. Mobley joins Shareef Abdur-Rahim (California, 1996), Kevin Love (UCLA, 2008) and Deandre Ayton (Arizona, 2018) to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Awards in the same season. The only player to double as Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year was Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1987). Mobley became USC's fourth conference Player of the Year (Wayne Carlander - 1985, Harold Miner - 1992 and Sam Clancy - 2002). Mobley also becomes USC's second Conference Freshman of the Year, joining Miner who won the award in 1990. Mobley is the third USC player to be selected as the top defensive player in the Pac-12, joining Marcus Simmons (2011) and Taj Gibson (2009).
THE UNICORN -- USC freshman Evan Mobley, who is averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.8 blocks, is the only Division I player to be averaging at least 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 assists.
ENFIELD NAMED PAC-12 COACH OF THE YEAR -- USC head coach Andy Enfield was named the 2021 John R. Wooden Pac-12 Coach of the Year recipient as he guided the Trojans to a 21-6 record and second place in the Pac-12 with a 15-5 record, percentage points behind Oregon (14-4). USC's 21 victories led all Pac-12 teams and only six Division I teams have won more games this season through games on March 8. Enfield has guided the Trojans to a 153-108 record in his eight seasons as USC's head coach, the fourth most wins in school history. The Trojans currently ranked No. 24 in the AP poll. Enfield is now six wins away from picking up his 200th career victory, as he is 194-136 in 10 years as a college head coach. Enfield is the first USC head coach to be named the conference's Coach of the Year since George Raveling in 1992. The other Conference Coach of the Year winners were Stan Morrison in 1985 and Bob Boyd in 1979.
MOBLEY AND EADDY NAMED TO PAC-12 ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM -- Evan Mobley was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference first team and Tahj Eaddy was named to the second team on March 9. Eaddy, a graduate transfer from Santa Clara, is second on the team with a 13.8 scoring average and leads the team with 55 three-pointers made. Eaddy's last three-point basket came with 1.4 seconds remaining to give USC a 64-63 win at UCLA on March 6. Eaddy, who has scored in double figures in 21 of USC's 27 games, also leads the Trojans with a 77.6 shooting percentage from the free throw line and is second on the team with 66 assists.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE -- USC has held its opponents to 39.1 percent shooting this season, best in the Pac-12 and 12th-best in the country. Stanford's 51.9 percent shooting against USC on Feb. 2 and UCLA's 51.0 percent on March 6 were the only two times this season a Trojan opponent shot over 50 percent.
THE STRENGTH OF THREE -- A cord of three strands is not easily broken and a USC team with three players scoring 10 or more points is not easily defeated. The Trojans are 18-0 this season when they have at least three players scoring in double figures.
MAKING ADJUSTMENTS -- USC outscored UCLA 39-27 in the second half on March 6. USC has only been outscored by the opposition in the second half in six games this season (vs. Montana, vs. WSU, vs. Arizona, vs. Oregon, at Colorado, at Utah). USC has outscored the opposition by 153 points in the second half and overtime of its 27 games (5.67 points).