Arizona Basketball

Three top storylines: USC Trojans at Arizona Wildcats



Stanley Johnson when he was a teammate of USC’s Katin Reinhardt at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei three years ago (click on photo to access video)

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PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

The Trojans’ starters.
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USC TROJANS (10-15, 2-11) AT NO. 7 ARIZONA WILDCATS (22-3, 10-2)
Tip Time: 7:02 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ted Robinson/Bill Walton)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
Overall: Arizona leads, 62-41
In Tucson: Arizona leads, 37-10
Current Streak: Arizona won 1
Last Meeting: Arizona won, 73-53, on Jan. 12, 2014
Sean Miller vs. USC: 7-3

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Top three storylines for tonight’s game:

1. USC has talent but it’s not ripe.

The Trojans are not void of perimeter talent with Los Angeles City section player of the year Elijah Stewart, UNLV transfer Katin Reinhardt and solid sophomore guard Julian Jacobs (averaging 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in his last two games).

Stewart comes from the same Los Angeles high school, Westchester, that produced former Arizona standout Hassan Adams.

Andy Enfield, in only his second year, needs more time to develop his “Dunk City” principles that enabled him to reach the Sweet 16 with Florida Gulf Coast two years. The high-flying, fast-paced game that made Florida Gulf Coast the darlings of March Madness has not taken shape at USC yet.

The Trojans rank 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (67.2 points a game) and scoring defense (allowing 70 a game).

According to, USC ranks as the fourth youngest team in the country and first among the Power 5 conferences in terms of minutes played by class. Among the top 11 teams listed in terms of youngest rosters, only two have a winning record and one of those is No. 1 Kentucky.

USC is one of two of those 11 youngest teams to have a strength of schedule ranked in the top 70. Conversely, 7 of the 11 oldest rosters have a record of .500 or better. USC is one of only 15 teams in the country without a senior and the Trojans have had only one scholarship junior (Strahinja Gavrilovic) play this season.


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2. High school reunion for Stanley Johnson and Reinhardt.

Reinhardt and Johnson have worked out together since their formative years in the sport. They played together for two seasons at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High School. They’ll face each other for the first time as collegians tonight.

“I think it’s going to be fun finally getting a chance to go against him in a game situation,” Reinhardt, the Trojans’ second-leading scorer, told The Press-Enterprise Tuesday. “We always have so much fun competing against each other.”

They will likely be matched on the perimeter against each other.

“He’s just a physical guy that goes hard non-stop,” Reinhardt said.

Reinhardt is two years ahead of Johnson having first played at UNLV. He remembers mentoring Johnson when Johnson was a freshman at Mater Dei.

Johnson was “6-3 or 6-4 and just bigger than everybody else,” Reinhardt said.

3. Color the paint red and blue.

Arizona’s strength again tonight should be its dominance in the interior, which is a weakness for the Trojans.

USC lacks a true 7-footer and is often exposed on the glass and in the paint. Sophomore Nikola Jovanovic, 6’11”, usually defends the opponent’s tallest player. Despite leading the team in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage, Jovanovic has been in a slump as of late.

The second-year Serbian has scored in double-digits only once in his last five games and has not broken double-digit in rebounds in his last seven games.

Behind the athleticism of Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and the size of Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley, the Wildcats lead the Pac-12 with a plus-7.9 rebound margin and rank first nationally in defensive rebound percentage at 77.6 for the year.

Because of Arizona’s high-percentage looks within 10 feet of the basket, Arizona is shooting 49.7 percent from the field as a team. That ranks seventh nationally. Arizona outscores opponents by an average of 11.7 points per game in the paint, 6.7 per game off of turnovers and 5.0 per game on second chances.


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Present RPI ranking of the Pac-12.
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Present RPI ranking of Arizona’s non-conference opponents.
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[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also has published articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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