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A look at the First Four matchup between USC and Providence

A look at the First Four matchup between USC and Providence
Providence forward Rodney Bullock reacts to making the game-winning basket against USC in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season. (Gerry Broome / Associated Press)

USC-PROVIDENCE MATCHUP

WHO: No. 11 USC (24-9) vs. No. 11 Providence (20-12).

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WHAT: NCAA East Regional First Four game, Wednesday, 6:10 p.m. PDT.

WHERE: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio. TV: truTV; Radio: 690.

UPDATE: Coaches Andy Enfield of USC and Ed Cooley of Providence are golfing buddies.

"He's just a terrific person, a lot of fun to be around. But he doesn't make too many holes on the golf course without asking for another dozen golf balls," Enfield said.

USC's loss to Providence last year in the first round of the NCAA tournament was the equivalent of missing a four-foot putt. Both teams lost lots of experience from their last meeting.

"We're totally different than we were last year," Enfield said. "Similar system, style of play, just different players."

USC overcame the departures to win 24 games, one away from the school record, despite losing leading-scorer Bennie Boatwright for 17 games. His absence accelerated the development of freshmen De'Anthony Melton and Jonah Mathews, who have matured into two of USC's best defenders.

Providence's road was more bumpy but also included big wins. In a preseason Big East Conference ranking, the Friars were ninth; they ended the season third in the standings. Cooley said a tournament appearance was "a surprise to me, quite frankly. I think our team overachieved in many ways."

PROVIDENCE STARTERS

Providence's Jalen Lindsey (21), Kyron Cartwright (24), Alpha Diallo (11), Rodney Bullock (5) and Emmitt Holt (15) on the court during a game against Xavieron Feb. 15
Providence's Jalen Lindsey (21), Kyron Cartwright (24), Alpha Diallo (11), Rodney Bullock (5) and Emmitt Holt (15) on the court during a game against Xavieron Feb. 15 (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

Player; Ht; Wt; PPG; P

Kyron Cartwright; 5-11; 185; 11.4; G

Alpha Diallo; 6-7; 205; 5.7; G

Jalen Lindsey; 6-7; 220; 10.5; G

Emmitt Holt; 6-7; 230; 12.4; F

Rodney Bullock; 6-8; 225; 15.7; F

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RESERVES

Isaiah Jackson; 6-6; 212; 5.7; G

Ryan Fazekas; 6-8; 215; 3.1; G

Kalif Young; 6-9; 250; 3.3; F

USC forward Chimezie Metu (4) shoots a free throw against Washington as teammates Jordan McLaughlin (11), Jonah Mathews (2), Elijah Stewart (30) and Bennie Boatwright (25) look on during a game on Feb. 1.
USC forward Chimezie Metu (4) shoots a free throw against Washington as teammates Jordan McLaughlin (11), Jonah Mathews (2), Elijah Stewart (30) and Bennie Boatwright (25) look on during a game on Feb. 1. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

USC STARTERS

Jordan McLaughlin; 6-1; 180; 13.1; G

De'Anthony Melton; 6-4; 190; 8.7; G

Shaqquan Aaron; 6-7; 190; 8.3; G

Bennie Boatwright; 6-10; 230; 14.6; F

Chimezie Metu; 6-11; 225; 14.5; F

RESERVES

Elijah Stewart; 6-5; 190; 12.4; G

Jonah Mathews; 6-3; 185; 7.3; G

Nick Rakocevic; 6-11; 215; 5.2; F

Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand

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