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Talkin’ Tall Firs: La La Land Comes to Eugene

A battle for first place in the PAC-12 with USC goes down tonight, UCLA on Sunday

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

History could be made tonight in Eugene: Payton Pritchard needs only four assists to become the 6th player in PAC-12 history with 1,500 career points and 600 career assists. He’ll also become the first player in PAC-12 history with 1,500 career points, 600 career assists and 500 career rebounds.

USC Trojans (15-3, 4-1)

Both teams are coming off a come-from-behind victory over the weekend (USC over Stanford and Oregon over Washington, both in OT). Now, the two will square off in a battle for 1st place in PAC-12. USC has been off to a solid start to the season but have yet to receive national recognition so a win over a ranked opponent will be huge for the program. Unfortunately, the Trojans have lost 8 of the 9 games in Eugene. Oregon is also undefeated at home this season at 10-0.

Wins - Florida A&M, Portland, South Dakota State, @ Nevada, Pepperdine, Fairfield, Harvard, @ TCU, Long Beach State, LSU, Florida Gulf Coast, @ Washington State, @ UCLA, California, Stanford

Losses - Temple, Marquette, @ Washington

KenPom Ranking - #62

Key Numbers:

  • 74.0 points per game
  • 40.4 rebounds per game (38th in the nation)
  • 15.3 assists per game
  • 5.3 blocks per game
  • 6.8 steals per game
  • 67.4 points allowed per game
  • 44.2 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Onyeka Okongwu, Freshman - 16.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 61.7%

The future NBA first round pick is part of the reason USC is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. He crashes the glass very well and protects the rim at all costs. Definitely one of the top big men in this year’s draft.

Game Time:

USC @ #12 Oregon - 11:00 PM ET, ESPNU on Thursday, January 23rd

Score Prediction:

79-72, Ducks over Trojans


UCLA Bruins (9-9, 2-3)

The Bruins stink. Straight up. Mick Cronin should’ve played Shareef O’Neal a lot more when he had the chance and now the freshman has announced he will be transferring from UCLA. You lost him and you’re going to regret that you let him go. Oregon better take care of the Bruins at home or I’m going to lose all my faith that this Ducks team can make a run to the Final Four.

Wins - Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, UNLV, Southern Utah, Chaminade, San Jose State, Denver, @ Washington, @ Washington State, USC, Stanford

Losses - Hofstra, BYU, #3 Michigan State, @ Notre Dame, North Carolina, Cal State Fullerton, California

KenPom Ranking - #139

Key Numbers:

  • 69.6 points per game
  • 38.2 rebounds per game
  • 13.3 assists per game
  • 3.7 blocks per game
  • 6.6 steals per game
  • 67.4 points allowed per game
  • 43.5 field goal percentage

Player to Watch For:

Tyger Campbell, Freshman - 7.2 PPG, 4.5 APG

Mick Cronin has the personnel to be successful but he hasn’t executed it properly. Tyger is one of those special players that with a couple years of development, he can turn this program around in his upperclassmen years. He is a pass first point guard but if he adds a three-point shoot to his game and becomes more of an offensive player, watch out.

Game Time:

UCLA @ #12 Oregon - 5:00 PM ET, PAC-12 Network on Sunday, January 26th

Score Prediction:

84-72, Ducks over Bruins

*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho