No. 16 USC Men's Basketball Plays At Utah Saturday
The No. 16 USC Trojans (15-2, 5-2) will play at the Utah Runnin' Utes (8-11, 1-8) at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Jan. 22 at 3:30 p.m. PT. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network with Todd Harris and Don MacLean calling the action. USC's 15-2 start to the season is its best since the 2016-17 team also opened 15-2. If USC were to win, it would the best start after 18 games since the 1970-71 team began 17-1 en route to a 24-2 record. USC is seeking the difficult Mountain road sweep, having already won at Colorado. USC accomplished the sweep in 2018, at the time just the fifth time since the teams joined the conference in 2012 that a team had swept the Mountain schools at their arenas on one trip.
FACING UTAH -- Utah (8-11, 1-8) won its first five games this season, but has lost its last seven games. The Utes fell 63-58 vs. UCLA on Jan. 20. USC defeated Utah 93-73 on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles. Branden Carlson leads three Utah players averaging double figures with a 13.5 points per game average. USC has won four of its last six games against Utah, but trals 23-26 in the all-time series. USC has lost six of its last seven games at Utah.
TROJANS FLEX DEFENSIVE MUSCLE -- USC held Colorado to 31.4 percent shooting on Jan. 20, snapping a streak of four consecutive opponents shooting over 40 percent from the field against the Trojans. In the four previous games played following a pause due to Covid-19 (following the game on Dec. 18 vs. GT), the Trojans allowed the opposition to shoot 44.6 percent (103-for-231) from the floor. USC held all 12 of its opponents prior to that under 40 percent shooting in each game and to a combined 35.2 shooting percentage, which was second in the country. The Trojans were the first team in the last 15 seasons to hold its first 12 opponents to under 40 percent shooting in each game. In the last five games USC has especially struggled in its three-point field goal defense, allwoing opponents to make 43.6 percent from three-point range (41-for-94). In the first 12 games the opposition made 27.4 percent from beyond the arc. Still, for the season USC has held its opponents to 37.1 percent shooting, fourth-best in the country.
USC EARNS HARD-FOUGHT WIN AT COLORADO -- Chevez Goodwin scored all 14 of his points in the second half and USC held Colorado to one field goal in the last 6:41 to earn a gritty 61-58 victory at the CU Events Center on Jan. 20. The win snapped USC's 7-game losing streak to Colorado. Goodwin also grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, the most by a Trojan since 2018. The game featured 13 lead changes and eight ties and was close throughout with neither side taking more than a 7-point lead. Trailing by its biggest deficit of the game at 50-45 with 6:41 remaining, the Trojan defense held the Buffaloes without a field goal until a harmless floater by Keeshawn Barthelemy just before the buzzer, snapping an 0-for-8 skid from the floor. Goodwin made 1 of 2 FT and Agbonkpolo 3 of 4 down the stretch to close it out. USC held Colorado to 31.4 percent shooting, but the Buffs made 7 of 15 from 3-point range (46.7 percent). USC outrebounded Colorado 47-32 and outscored them 38-12 on points in the paint.
GOOD TO SEE AND HEAR YOU --In its three games without fans in attendance (at Stanford and home vs. OSU and Oregon), USC allowed an average of 75.0 points per game. In the other 14 games, USC has held the opposition to 60.6 points per game. In the three games without crowds, USC led one of those games by a point and trailed in the other two at the half. USC only trailed at the break in 2 other games all season.
ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. Arizona State (6-9, 2-3) on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. at the Galen Center. ASU is coming off a 64-62 home win against Utah on Jan. 17 and will play at Stanford on Jan. 22 before taking on the Trojans. D.J. Horne leads three Sun Devils in double figure scoring with a 13.3 average. USC leads the all-time series 57-42 (2 wins in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty, original record 59-42). USC has won its last three meetings with ASU, including 89-71 at home and 73-64 in Tempe, Ariz. last season.
ROAD WARRIORS - USC has started 5-1 on the road with wins at Temple, FGCU, WSU, California and Colorado. USC's five true road wins are tied for the most by any power conference team (Auburn 5-0). USC was 7-3 in road games last season.
LEADERS OF THE PAC -- USC is tied for first in Pac-12 conference games for the most conference victories the past five seasons (since the 2017-18 season). USC is 51-30 in conference games during that stretch, while Oregon is 51-27, UCLA is third at 49-29, Arizona is fourth at 48-31 and Colorado is fifth at 45-33.
BIG MEN, BIG NUMBERS -- Big men Isaiah Mobley and Chevez Goodwin have been at the forefront of USC's success so far this season and currently are the top two scorers and rebounders on the team. Mobley is averaging a team-leading 15.1 points per game and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per contest. He currently ranks tied for 30th in the country in rebounds per game. Goodwin is the Trojans' second-leading scorer at 13.1 points per game and is second on the team with 7.7 rebounds per game. Goodwin's 60.6 shooting percentage is best among USC's players with at least five shots attempted and ranks 10th in the country. Mobley ranks first and Goodwin fourth among Pac-12 players in rebounds per game. In the last three games, Goodwin has averaged a double-double of 13.7 points and 12.3 rebounds.
THE MAGIC MARK -- With its 61-58 win at Colorado on Jan. 20, USC is now 101-5 in its last 106 games when holding the opposition to under 70 points, dating back to Feb. 28, 2015. USC has held 36 of its last 53 opponents to under 70 points dating back to the 2019-20 season.