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Talkin’ Tall Firs: California Road Trip

Oregon Travels to USC and UCLA This Week

USC Trojans

Even with Kevin Porter Jr. back from injury, the Trojans’ mediocre play continues. A recent three-game losing streak to Utah, Colorado, and Stanford has pushed USC down to fifth in the PAC-12 standings.

Wins - Robert Morris, Stetson, Missouri State, Cal State Bakersfield, Long Beach State, Southern Utah, UC Davis, California, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, @ Washington State, @ California

Losses - Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, #5 Nevada, TCU, @ Oklahoma, @ Santa Clara, @ Oregon State, @ Oregon, @ Washington, Utah, Colorado, Stanford

KenPom Ranking - #93

Game Time:

Oregon (15-10, 6-6) @ USC (14-12, 7-5) 9:00 PM ET, ESPN on Thursday, February 21st

Key Numbers:

(Every category has dropped since their last meeting)

  • 77.2 Points Per Game
  • 36.5 Rebounds Per Game
  • 16.3 Assists Per Game (Tied for 20th in the Country)
  • 6.3 Steals Per Game
  • 3.3 Blocks Per Game
  • 73.0 Points Allowed Per Game
  • 46.1 Field Goal Percentage

Player to Watch For:

Kevin Porter Jr., Freshman - 9.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.7 APG

The phenom freshman has had a slow start after coming back from a thigh injury. Those first couple weeks of the season for Porter were quite fun to watch.

Score Prediction: 80-73, Trojans over Ducks

Bennie Boatwright (18.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG) and Niko Rakocevic (15.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG) learned a lot from the first matchup against the Ducks. They will have a better effort in the second matchup on their home court.

UCLA Bruins

This UCLA team is on track to have their worst season since 2015-2016. One highlight for the Bruins could be the comeback they had against the Ducks earlier this season. All Oregon fans remember that first matchup these two teams had in January. It was a complete breakdown by the Ducks who gave up a 9 point lead with under a minute left to play in regulation.

Wins - Purdue Fort Wayne, Long Beach State, Saint Francis (PA), Presbyterian, Hawaii, LMU, Notre Dame, Stanford, California, @ Oregon, Arizona, @ Washington State, @ California

Losses - #11 Michigan State, #7 North Carolina, Belmont, @ Cincinnati, #15 Ohio State, Liberty, @ Oregon State, @ USC, Arizona State, @ Washington, Colorado, Utah, @ Stanford

KenPom Ranking - #100

Game Time:

Oregon (15-10, 6-6) @ UCLA (13-13, 6-7) 10:00 PM ET, ESPN2 on Saturday, February 23rd

Key Numbers:

  • 78.0 Points Per Game
  • 41.3 Rebounds Per Game (Tied for 9th in the Country)
  • 14.8 Assists Per Game
  • 6.3 Steals Per Game
  • 4.2 Blocks Per Game
  • 76.5 Points Allowed Per Game
  • 46.1 Field Goal Percentage

Player to Watch For:

Kris Wilkes, Sophomore - 17.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.7 APG

The 6’8” wing has great size and length for his position. A strong defender who gets a hand in the passing lane and can score very well around the rim on the other end.

Score Prediction: 77-71, Ducks over Bruins

A lot of mental mistakes were made by Oregon in the first matchup but (hopefully) they learned their lesson from that game and won’t let it happen the second time around. Box out. Take care off the ball. Just do the simple things and the Ducks should handle business.

*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho