The two teams atop the Pac 12 standings square off on Saturday night. The 14-3 (8-2) USC Trojans bring a three-game winning streak heading into the matchup with the 13-3 (9-1) UCLA Bruins. This one will loom large in terms of the overall structure of the conference standings heading into the home stretch.
The Trojans, who are 9-1 at home this season, are led by Evan Mobley. He is averaging 16.8 ppg and nine rebounds. His brother, Isaiah, averages nearly ten points and eight boards to his own name. These two combine for one of the better frontcourt tandems not only in the conference but in the country. Their size inside could pose a problem for the smaller Bruins interior.
The other quite steady producer for USC is senior Tahj Eaddy, who adds 12.6 points and nearly three rebounds per contest. With Ethan Anderson back from injury, there are a lot of unknowns in terms of who will be getting the bulk of the minutes going forward in the other spots. Coach Andy Enfield has ridden the hot hand for the past few games, and this can be expected to continue with the bulk number of quality options at the wing.
The offensive surge of Johnny Juzang (11.9 ppg), a Kentucky transfer, has been a story as of late for UCLA. Juzang will likely have to stay hot for the Bruins to take down this USC team on the road. UCLA has the 14th best adjusted offensive efficiency numbers in the country on Kenpom, largely in part to Juzang and pure point guard Tyger Campbell.
Campbell has higher than a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is top among Pac-12 starting point guards. The Bruins rely on a more balanced scoring attack, which features four starters averaging double-digit points. Largely, a key for the Bruins this year is keeping a slower pace, as they have one of the slowest tempos in all of college basketball.
There are a lot of things to watch for in this one; here are a few main storylines to watch between the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans.