No. 11 USC vs. No. 11 Providence: A look at how the Trojans and Friars match up in a play-in game for the NCAA tournament's East Regional:
WEDNESDAY AT UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON ARENA, DAYTON, OHIO
How they got here: USC won almost all the games it was expected to and lost nearly all of the games it was expected to. The worry was whether its two impressive wins, over UCLA and Southern Methodist, would be enough to overcome a mild February swoon. Providence launched on an opposite trajectory, struggling early before rattling off wins in its final six regular-season games, including four in a row against tournament teams.
Last 10 games: USC 5-5; Providence 7-3. Record vs. NCAA tournament teams: USC 4-6; Providence 8-8.
Best victories/worst losses: USC defeated Southern Methodist, 78-73, and UCLA, 84-76. Road wins against Texas A&M, 65-63, and Colorado, 71-68, contributed to a winning road record. Providence won against Rhode Island, 63-60, Xavier, 75-63, and defeated Marquette twice. The Friars also won 68-66 at Creighton.
Common opponents: None.
USC lineup: Starters — G Jordan McLaughlin (13.1 ppg, 5.5 apg), G De'Anthony Melton (8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), G Shaqquan Aaron (8.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg), F Bennie Boatwright (14.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg), F Chimezie Metu (14.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg). Top reserves — G Elijah Stewart (12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Jonah Mathews (7.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg), F Nick Rakocevic (5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg).
Providence lineup: Starters — G Kyron Cartwright (11.4 ppg, 6.7 apg), G Alpha Diallo (5.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg), G Jalen Lindsey (10.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg), F Emmitt Holt (12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg), F Rodney Bullock (15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Top reserves — G Isaiah Jackson (5.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg), F Kalif Young (3.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Ryan Fazekas (3.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg).
It's a fact: USC has made consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament only four other times. The most recent was a run of three years from 2007 to 2009. … USC is one win away from tying the program record, 25, set in 2007.