No. 8 USC vs. No. 9 Providence
THURSDAY AT PNC ARENA, RALEIGH, N.C.
How they got here: USC lost six of eight games in a stretch late in the season but used a 95-71 victory over UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament as a strong closing statement. Providence endured its own midseason swoon, when it also lost six of eight games, but won four games in a row before losing to Villanova in the Big East Conference tournament.
Last 10 games: USC 3-7; Providence 5-5.
Record vs. NCAA tournament teams: USC 5-8; Providence 5-7.
Best victories/worst losses: USC defeated Monmouth, 101-90, and Wichita State, 72-69, both at home. In conference play, USC defeated Arizona, 103-101, at home in four overtimes. The Trojans lost, 74-67, to Arizona State, and 84-64 to Stanford, both on the road. Providence's best victories were over Villanova, 82-76 in overtime, and Arizona, 69-65. The Friars defeated Butler three times and Creighton twice. Their worst loss was to DePaul, 77-70. They lost twice to Marquette.
Common opponents: Xavier: USC lost, 87-77; Providence lost, 75-68 and 85-74. Arizona: USC won once, and lost once; Providence won its only game against the Wildcats.
USC lineup: Starters — G Julian Jacobs (11.8 ppg, 5.5 apg), G Jordan McLaughlin (13.4 ppg, 4.7 apg), G Elijah Stewart (9.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg), F Bennie Boatwright (11.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg), F Nikola Jovanovic (12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg). Top reserves — G Katin Reinhardt (11.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Chimezie Metu (6.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Darion Clark (2.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg).
Providence lineup: Starters — G Kris Dunn (16.0 ppg, 6.4 apg), G Jalen Lindsey (7.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg), G Junior Lomomba (5.5 ppg, 2.0 apg), F Rodney Bullock (11.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg), F Ben Bentil (21.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg). Top reserves — G Kyron Cartwright (5.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg), F Ryan Fazekas (5.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Drew Edwards (2.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg).