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WSU vs. USC: Preview, TV schedule and game thread

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The Cougars face another tough test in Los Angeles.

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State Cougars finish out their first weekend of Pac-12 play tonight by facing the USC Trojans, another tough opponent who will make it difficult for them to come back to Pullman with a victory.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT on ESPN2. You can watch online via WatchESPN.com if you have a cable subscription to ESPN.

The Cougars suffered a not-unexpected loss to UCLA in their conference opener, but the Trojans are coming off a conference-opening loss themselves, having fallen at home to Washington on Friday, sending them to just 9-5 on the season after starting the season ranked 10th.

Don’t let that fool you, though: This is a really good team that features one of the best offenses the Cougs will see the rest of the way.

Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright are explosive scorers who can beat the Cougs in any number of ways: Inside, outside and from the free throw line. They’re also dominant rebounders. Jordan McLaughlin orchestrates the show from the point guard position, and both he and Elijah Stewart are deadly from beyond the arc.

It’s a varied attack that WSU is going to have a hard time slowing down.

The good news is that the Trojans have been suspect on defense at times. They just gave up 88 points to the Huskies, and their biggest weakness is in defending the three. That’s good news for a WSU team that will shoot lots of threes and does a good job of making them.

USC is favored by 14 points, and kenpom.com predicts this as an 86-72 victory for the Trojans with the Cougs winning just one out of 10 tries.