No. 8 Seed USC To Face No. 9 Seed Providence In NCAA First-Round Game In Raleigh, NC

    Junior guard Katin Reinhardt is the only active Trojan on the roster with NCAA playing experience.
    March 13, 2016

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    The No. 8 seed USC Trojans (21-12, 9-9) will face the No. 9 seed Providence Friars (23-10, 10-8) at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on March 17 at approximately 6:50 p.m. PT. The game will air on TBS with Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner and Reggie Miller calling the action and Lewis Johnson providing sideline commentary. The winner of USC-Providence will face the winner of No. 1 North Carolina-No. 16 FGCU/Fairleigh Dickinson game (4:20 p.m. PT on March 17) on March 19. USC has 21 wins this season, its first 20-win season since going 22-13 in the 2009 season.

    TICKET INFORMATION -- Tickets will be available online to Galen Founders beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 14 and phones will open to Galen Founders from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 14 at 213-740-GOSC. Season ticket holders can purchase their tickes online beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 15 and phones will be open from 9: a.m. - 5 p.m. on March 15 at 213-740-GOSC. Galen Founders and Season Ticket Holders should check their e-mails for more information. Students will also be able to purchase tickets via a lottery system. Any questions should be directed to 213-740-GOSC.

    USC IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT -- USC is 12-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, which reflects one loss in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty. USC’s last appearance in the NCAA Tournament came in 2011 when it lost 59-46 to VCU in a First Four game played in Dayton, Ohio. VCU went on to reach the Final Four. USC was in four of five NCAA Tournaments from 2007-11, but none since. USC reached the Final Four in 1940 and 1954, the regional final in 2001 and the regional semifinal in 2007.

    BREAKING DOWN PROVIDENCE -- The Providence Friars (23-10, 10-8) tied for fourth in the Big East and were ranked as high as No. 8 in the AP Poll after a 14-1 start to the season. Providence is led by sophomore forward Ben Bentil (21.2 ppg), junior guard Kris Dunn (16.0 ppg) and sophomore forward Rodney Bullock (11.6 ppg). The Friars’ head coach is Ed Cooley (102-66 in five seasons). USC lost its only other meeting with Providence, falling 70-66 at home on Jan. 26, 1972. Common opponents for USC and Providence this season are Arizona and Xavier, with both teams going a combined 1-2 against those teams.

    UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN -- USC has played 13 games against teams in the 2016 NCAA Tournament and has posted a 5-8 record in those contests: Arizona (1-1), California (0-1), Colorado (1-0), Oregon (0-2), Oregon State (1-1), Utah (0-2), Wichita State (1-0), Xavier (0-1), Yale (1-0).

    RARELY IN RALEIGH -- The only other time USC has played a game in Raleigh, N.C. was the second game of the 1965 season when the Trojans lost 78-69 to North Carolina State. Those two teams played the season opener the night before in Greensboro, N.C. USC did play a first-round game as an No. 11 seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional in Charlotte, N.C. in 1997, losing to Illinois 90-77.

    ON DECK -- If USC wins against Providence on March 17, its opponent on March 19 would be either ACC regular season and tournament champion North Carolina (28-6) in its home state, the Atlantic Sun Tournament champion FGCU (20-13), the school USC head coach Andy Enfield coached for two seasons and led to the 2013 Sweet 16 or Northeast Conference tournament winner Fairleigh Dickinson (18-14).

    IT TAKES A TEAM -- USC has six players averaging 9.8 or more points and eight players have averaged 2.8 rebounds or more this season. Seven different Trojans have scored at least 19 points in a game this season. USC has four players with at least 54 three-point baskets this season. Last season, USC had only three players all season make 16 or more three-pointers. USC had five players score in double figures vs. Monmouth on Nov. 16, the first time it had accomplished the feat since 2013 and has had five or more reach double figures in 10 games this season. USC had six players score 10 or more points vs. Cal Poly on Dec. 17 and vs. UCLA on March 9, the first times accomplishing that feat since Dec. 28, 2004 vs. Southern.

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY AND HOOPS -- USC has a 3-2 record all-time in games played on St. Patrick’s Day, the last time being a 74-71 win over Boston College in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. USC also won 90-74 against UNLV in the first round of the NIT in 1993, won 76-73 in OT against Bradley in the first round of the commissioner’s conference tournament in 1974, lost 69-65 against Notre Dame in the first round of the NIT in 1973 and lost 86-71 to Arizona State in the second round of the 1961 NCAA Tournament. The game against Notre Dame is notable as it was played at Madison Square Garden in NYC, the Irish wore shamrocks on their uniforms and were awarded 33 more free throws. USC’s head coach Bob Boyd was quoted as saying, “I want to thank the tournament committee for pairing us with Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day!” One of the officials for the game was Tom Casey.

    NCAA EXPERIENCE -- The only active player on the USC roster with NCAA Tournament experience is guard Katin Reinhardt. Reinhardt started for UNLV as a freshman in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and the Runnin’ Rebels fell 64-61 to California in the first round. Reinhardt had 11 points and two assists in the game. Associate head coach Tony Bland (Syracuse) and assistant coaches Kevin Norris (Miami) and Jason Hart (Syracuse) all played in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Andy Enfield guided FGCU to the Sweet 16 in 2013, defeating Georgetown and San Diego State, becoming the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Guard Shaqquan Aaron, a transfer from Louisville who is sitting out the 2015-16 season, played in last season's NCAA Tournament.

    DYNAMIC DUO -- Jordan McLaughlin (155) and Julian Jacobs (166) are one of two sets of guards in the country with at least 155 assists this season. The other pair is Emmett Naar and Joe Rahon of Saint Mary’s.

    USC AT THE 2016 PAC-12 TOURNAMENT – No. 7 seed USC scored the first 11 points and went on to defeat No. 10 seed UCLA 95-71 in the Pac-12 Tournament first-round game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 9. The Trojans led 48-29 at the half and UCLA did not get any closer than 15 points in the second half. USC had six players score in double figures, led by freshman Bennie Boatwright’s 19 points. Fellow freshman Chimezie Metu had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. USC swept the season series against UCLA (3-0) with all the wins being by 10 points or more for the first time since accomplishing the feat in 1938 (4-0). The 95 points are the most USC has ever scored against UCLA and the 24-point victory was the largest margin of victory for the Trojans in the series since winning by 28 points in 1945 (53-25). USC then fell to No. 2 seed Utah 80-72 on March 10. Utah made 65.4 percent of its shots in the first half including 10 of its last 11, using a 9-0 run at the end of the half to open up a 41-33 lead at the break. Jordan McLaughlin’s 20 second-half points kept USC in the game and his layup with three minutes left made it a two-point game at 69-67, but a pair of 3-pointers by Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Taylor (from 30 feet as the shot clock expired), kept the Trojans at bay. McLaughlin finished with 24 points and Julian Jacobs added 16. Kuzma led Utah with 23 points, making 11 of 12 shots, his only miss being a shot blocked by Metu. Utah shot a USC opponent high of 60.8 percent, eclipsing the previous high of 53.8 percent also established by Utah on Feb. 21.