USC bubble watch: with Oregon playing Arizona State on Saturday, Trojans can gain more ground

The math is very simple for USC after beating Washington State on Thursday.

The Trojans gained a game on Utah, which lost at home to Stanford. The Trojans gained a game on Oregon, which lost at Arizona. USC is now two games up in the loss column over Utah, Oregon, and Arizona State in the race for a first-round bye at the Pac-12 Tournament. The Trojans’ bubble position relative to each of those three pursuers has improved.

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Saturday, Oregon plays Arizona State, meaning one of those two teams is guaranteed to lose. This means that if USC can defeat Washington on Saturday evening at the Galen Center (6:30 p.m. local time in Los Angeles), it is assured of gaining a game on either Oregon or ASU.

When you then realize that Utah will visit the Arizona schools in two weeks (Feb. 16 and 18), it becomes apparent that either Utah or Arizona State will lose at least one game that week.

This USC-Washington game on Saturday is so profoundly important for the Trojans’ twin goals of making the NCAA Tournament and also putting themselves in good position to win the Pac-12 Tournament. USC can gain more separation from its bubble competitors in the Pac-12.

The Trojans need to start the game with more urgency after falling behind Wazzu by 13 points midway through the first half on Thursday night.


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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire