This Valentine's weekend has been all about the Arizona Wildcats settling scores from earlier in the year, and on Sunday night, they'll look to avenge a four overtime loss to the USC Trojans, a game in which Allonzo Trier broke his hand late in regulation, and still played all four overtimes.
Who to watch:
Going into the first game between these two, I thought Ryan Anderson was in for a long night, and that turned out to be true and then some. This is because of Bennie Boatwright, who is 6'10", but has the most three-point attempts (119) on the team. Boatwright is a better matchup for Mark Tollefsen, as Anderson has struggled to defend the perimeter. It's been five weeks since that game, so will Arizona's most consistent player show that he has improved that aspect of his game?
Elijah Stewart, who has started in half of USC's 24 games this year, went off on Arizona last time. The sophomore guard poured in 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting (5/8 from three). As the team's sixth man, he's averaging 10.6 points a game, and his 42.3 three-point percentage is the best on the team. With Kadeem Allen still feeling the effects of a lingering illness, Stewart might be able to take advantage of Arizona's lack of a perimeter defender...again.
What to watch:
Arizona's perimeter defense is definitely what you should be keeping an eye on in this one. While USC shoots 38% from three as a team this year, and makes the most threes per game in the conference (8.1), that threat also presented some open drives for the Trojans last time. Again, with Allen maybe not at 100%, it will be interesting to see if Allonzo Trier, Gabe York, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and yes, Ryan Anderson, can hold their own on the perimeter throughout.
On Arizona's side, they'll have to deal with USC's propensity to block shots (8th in the nation) and rebound the ball effectively (9th in the nation). Chimezie Metu has 40 blocks this year while playing just over 18 minutes a game. For rebounding, the Trojans don't have a guy averaging more than 7.4 rebounds per game, but they pull down 41.6 as a team, outrebounding opponents by about three on average.
It'll be crucial for Dusan Ristic and Kaleb Tarczewski to be effective, and to also have Anderson be much closer to his normal self than last time.
You'll be able to watch the Wildcats and Trojans on Fox Sports 1 at 6 PM MT. Unfortunately, Steve Lavin will be one of the two voices guiding you through the game.