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Arizona vs. USC: Expert previews the Trojans, makes a score prediction

What should Arizona expect in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament?

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After limping to the finish of the regular season, the Arizona Wildcats (17-14, 8-10) head to Las Vegas along with the rest of the conference for the Pac-12 Tournament.

Arizona got the No. 9 seed in the tournament, and will face No. 8 seed USC in the opening round Wednesday at noon PT.

To prepare, we talked to Matthew Lowry at Conquest Chronicles, our sister site, to find out all we could about the Men of Troy.

Here’s our Q&A.

How would you grade USC’s regular season? Is Andy Enfield in any danger?

I would grade USC’s season as a solid C. The reason why I rate it as such is because USC has been hit by multiple injuries at the start of the season, so that played a factor, However the inconsistencies by the team and staff have really hurt this team. Multiple opportunities have been squandered by the Trojans which puts them in this position. As far as Andy Enfield, I think he SHOULD be in danger. However as stated earlier there’s been some factors outside of his control that will help his case. With the No. 2 recruiting class coming in, USC and Enfield should have zero excuses next season.

Who’s a player to watch for the Trojans?

Bennie Boatwright has been the Trojans MVP. When he’s going offensively, it opens things up for the rest of the team. However if he struggles then the team can’t get a rhythm going offensively. Boatwright has been USC’s offensive identity this season. Nick Rakocevic is another player to keep an eye on. He’s been a very stable presence in the post for USC.

What’s a key to the game for USC to beat Arizona?

For USC they have to find some consistency. The last two games USC has failed to make needed stops or find the offense to come away with wins against the Mountain schools. USC managed to blowout Arizona in the first meeting and they must string some stops together or risk being an early exit in the tournament.

What are some Pac-12 storylines you’re excited to see play out in the conference tournament?

What i’m looking forward to is that the Pac-12 Tournament is wide open right now. While Washington is the current favorite, they’re not a slam dunk to win the Pac-12 tournament at all. It’s anyone’s ball game. The biggest question is that will the conference get more than two teams in? Right now it’s projected to be Washington and ASU, however ASU is slightly on the bubble.

What’s your score prediction for the game?

This will be tricky because USC is a tale of two teams, while Arizona just looks like a shell of itself this season. I think USC will find some rhythm and come away with the victory over Arizona, 73-68, to move on to the next round, but it’s a coin flip.