Less than two weeks ago, for the first time in years, one voter in the USA Today coaches poll felt moved to write USC into his national top 25.
On Monday, the Trojans had two votes.
USC followed that with a win Thursday over Arizona State, which set the stage for one of the season’s most unlikely questions: if USC beats No. 7 Arizona on Saturday, might the Trojans actually crack the top 25?
USC hasn’t been in the top 25 of the coaches poll or the Associated Press media poll since Nov. 17, 2008. Its roster that season included future NBA regulars DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Nikola Vucevic.
A win over Arizona would give USC the signature win lacking from its record. But that would require USC to do something that no team has done in two seasons: give Arizona a second consecutive loss.
Guard Julian Jacobs said that last season USC was intimidated by a team like Arizona. This season is different.
“We realize it’s a big game because they are a ranked opponent,” Jacobs said. “But we’re not sweating Arizona, I’ll tell you that.”
He continued: “We feel like we’re just as good as anybody we step on the court with. If not better.”
USC UP NEXT
When: 4 p.m., Saturday.
Where: Galen Center.
On the air: TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 830.
Update: USC (13-3) ranks first in the Pac-12 Conference in three-pointers made and percentage. Four Trojans are averaging at least 9.8 points per game and shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc. Arizona (13-2), coming off a last-second loss to UCLA on Thursday, hasn’t dropped two games in a row since February 2013. The Wildcats erased a 10-point deficit in the final two and a half minutes of the UCLA game, but lost on a buzzer-beating three-point basket. Arizona and USC have the largest point differentials in the Pac-12.