Culver City Observer -

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By Steve Finley
Sports Reporter 

UCLA and USC men's basketball need wins to reach Tournament


It’s that time of the year. Its win are go home for a lot of teams and it’s no different for UCLA and USC men’s basketball. If both teams expect to make it to the 2018 NCAA Division I Tournament they need to win games in this week’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.

The tournament starts on Thursday for both teams. The No. 4 seeded Bruins will take on the winner of last Wednesdays’ game against California and Stanford at 12 p.m. and the No 2 seeded Trojans will play the winner of the Oregon and Washington State at 6 p.m. Both games will be televised by Pac-12 Network.

Because the Trojans finished second in the Pac-12 regular season with a record of 21-10 overall and 12-6 in the Pac-12 they feel like they should be an automatic qualifier for the tournament but some college basketball experts think they need to win as least one or two more games.

UCLA helped its cause by beating USC at the Galen Center last Saturday. That win helped the Bruins grab sole possession of fourth place. They finished the regular season at 20-10 overall and 11-7 in league play.

Against USC the Bruins relied on monster games by Aaron Holiday’s 34 points and Kris Wilkes’s 22 points to upset the Trojans. In the Pac-12 Tournament they will need monster games from senior Thomas Welch if they expect to reach the final on Saturday.

The Bruins will also need help from Chris Smith, Gyorgy Goloman, Prince Ali, Jaylen Hands and Alex Olesinski. They are all good players capable of having a breakout games in Las Vegas.

The Trojans are just like the Bruins. They need their star players to step up and play like stars. They can always count on Chimezie Metu but seniors Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Steward need to play at a high level and score points.

Other players that also need to come up big for the Trojans in Las Vegas are Nick Rakocevic, Jonah Mathews, Shaqquan Aaron, Jordan Usher and Derryck Thornton.


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