Arizona Basketball

A struggling USC team has upset a hot Arizona Wildcats team before in historic game


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Fast-break notes about Arizona’s game tonight against USC …

>> The Wildcats have been here before and I was there to witness it at the old L.A. Sports Arena. The 1997-98 team won 19 consecutive games and was 16-0 in the Pac-10 when it faced USC on March 5, 1998. The Trojans were 7-19 and on a seven-game losing streak. USC prevailed 91-90 in overtime against the second-ranked Wildcats, the defending national champs, in one of the biggest upsets in conference history.

>> The Trojans won in unlikely fashion as little-used reserve Adam Spanich — remember that name? — threw up a prayer in the last second. The ball hit the heel of the rim with a thud and rolled into the basket.

“It’s probably the biggest win for USC in terms of beating a team of that stature,” USC coach Henry Bibby, who topped his son Mike Bibby in the game, told the Los Angeles Times.

>> Top-ranked Arizona, looking to break the school record of 16 wins to start a season, faces a struggling USC team tonight at the Galen Center that has lost three out of its last five games and was smoked by UCLA (107-73 loss) and ASU (79-60) to start the Pac-12 season.

>> The most significant difference of the 1997-98 team and Arizona’s team this season is the offensive firepower in relation to the defense. The Wildcats’ success this season is predicated on its defense and rebounding. The 1997-98 team could score with anyone. Simon, Bibby, Michael Dickerson and Co. averaged an astounding school-record 90.8 points a game that season while allowing opponents 74.6.

Nick Johnson, T.J. McConnell, Aaron Gordon and Co. are averaging a respectable 75.1 points a game while allowing only 56.2, which ranks fifth in the country. If that marks stands, it will be the lowest amount since the 1950-51 team allowed only 53.3 points a game.


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ArizonaLogo logo.USC2

NO. 1 ARIZONA (16-0, 3-0) VS.
USC (9-6, 0-2)

Tip: 7:05 p.m. MST
Television: Pac-12 Networks (JB Long/Don MacLean/Yogi Roth)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 91; XM 91
Rankings: Arizona – No. 1 Associated Press/No. 1 USA Today Coaches Poll; USC – not ranked in either.

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Per NCAA national statistic rankings out of 345 Division I teams
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Arizona is No. 1 and 16-0 despite deficiencies with total steals, free-throw shooting and number of three-pointers made. Arizona is solid with its rebounding, defense in particular in the lane and overall shooting percentage. The Wildcats are taking smart shots by taking advantage of their size inside. Turnovers are another concern after Arizona committed 17 at UCLA on Thursday. The Wildcats average 11.6 turnovers a game — Sean Miller wants no more than 10 — and rank 82nd nationally in that category. USC, which averages 14.1 turnovers a game, struggles from three-point range (only 30 percent shooting) and has a rebounding margin of only plus-3.5 compared to Arizona’s 11.4.

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[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and


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