To put it simply, Washington and USC are not good teams; it feels like a near-impossibility for either of them to see an NCAA Tournament bid come March. However, they have the opportunity to play hard and ruin other conference foes' postseason aspirations with an "if I can't have it, nobody can" type of approach.
Washington finally got away from letting Sahvir Wheeler be the only one to do anything on offense over the weekend. It started when the Huskies took to the road to play Cal on Thursday and Keion Brooks Jr. led the team with 21 points. Brooks also had the key game-sealing assist, firing a pass to Moses Wood who nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to seal the 77-75 win over a bad team in the conference.
They couldn't repeat the fireworks on Saturday against Stanford, who was firing on all cylinders offensively. Brooks logged a 20-point game, his second straight reaching 20-plus points, while Wilhelm Breidenbach, a first-year Husky who transferred from Nebraska, logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. However, it wasn't enough to stop the Cardinal's onslaught and Washington fell 90-80.
Next week: The Huskies will have their work cut out for them when they host Colorado on Wednesday and Utah on Saturday. Washington is a largely uninspiring team when Wheeler is quiet, but the two mountain schools have a tendency to struggle much more on the road than when at home.
USC is a long way from the 8-7 (2-2 in Pac-12) record they had just two weeks ago before a four-game losing streak kicked in. Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier, the Trojans' leading scorers, both missed their second straight game against Arizona in Tucson. Bronny (son of Lebron) James and DJ (son of Dennis) Rodman did what they could to carry the game, but they fell in an 82-67 affair.
Arizona State capitalized on the sudden downturn of the Trojans and snapped the seven-game regular season win streak the Trojans had over them. Still down Ellis and Collier, Vincent Iwuchukwu tried to carry the team with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but it still wasn't enough. The Trojans were reminded of their Arizona loss when Arizona State served up an identical 82-67 defeat.
Next week: USC, like Cal, will be hosting a one-off game with its crosstown rival when the lowly UCLA comes to town. Fresh off of blowing a massive lead against Arizona, the Bruins seem ripe for the Trojans to pick on.