Much like the Colorado Buffaloes, the USC Trojans will be limping into the Coors Events Center on Wednesday night.
Unlike the Buffs, though, whose recent wounds have mostly been self-inflicted, the Trojans are attempting to secure their third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth without the services of junior forward Bennie Boatwright, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last Thursday during a win against Oregon.
Boatwright ranks second on the Trojans in scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.4). USC survived its first test without Boatwright, posting a 72-59 home win against Oregon State on Saturday. He reportedly suffered a partially torn patella tendon that will not require surgery.
"To see him go down, miss the rest of the season, is heartbreaking for Bennie," USC coach Andy Enfield told the Orange County Register.
Boatwright was one of the few Trojans players who endured an off-night when USC defeated Colorado at home on Jan. 10, going 1-for-9 from the field and finishing with three points, three rebounds, two assists, and three turnovers.
USC begins the next-to-last week of league play tied for second in the Pac-12 standings with rival UCLA, though the Bruins currently hold the tiebreaker via their home win against the Trojans on Feb. 3. After USC and UCLA travel through Utah and Colorado this week, they complete the regular season with their intra-city rematch at USC on March 3.
Like the Trojans, UCLA took care of business at home over the weekend against both Oregon schools. For his part in that effort, junior guard Aaron Holiday was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Holiday didn't have his best shooting night in the Bruins' win against Oregon State, going 4-for-13, but he still produced a double-double with 17 points and a season-high 10 assists, falling just one assist shy of matching his career-high.
Holiday topped 20 points for the 14th time this season in UCLA's overtime win against Oregon, going 9-for-13 overall and 5-for-9 on 3-pointers before finishing with 29 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Holiday also went 13-for-15 at the free throw line over the two games.
In conference games, Holiday leads the Pac-12 in scoring (20.9) and 3-point percentage (.512) while ranking second in assists (5.8). Holiday was held to just 10 points, his low mark in league play, by CU on Jan. 13. The teams will play their rematch Sunday at the Coors Events Center (2 p.m., ESPNU).
USC has swept both Oregon schools for the first time since 2008...UCLA's Thomas Welsh, the Pac-12's leader in rebounds in league games (10.7), has posted 16 double-doubles this season. That is the most by a Bruins player since Kevin Love recorded 23 during the 2007-08 season...After earning a season sweep of rival Arizona State, the Arizona Wildcats jumped from No. 17 to No. 14 in this week's AP top 25. ASU, ranked 25th last week, dropped out...Despite losing to Arizona, ASU guard Tra Holder became the 13th Pac-12 player to record at least 1,700 points and 400 assists in his career.