The Trojans’ recent success has been supported by an even balance of offensive production — at least five players have dropped double-digits in the last three games. On any given night, forwards junior Nick Rakocevic and senior Bennie Boatwright can drop over 20 points. But the team has struggled on the road, going 0-4 outside of Galen Center so far this season. Notching two wins on the road would give the team a shot at the top of the conference and the confidence to continue to travel as the Trojans enter the heart of the season. The Huskies have already notched five double-digit wins in conference play, led by freshman guard Jaylen Nowell, who averages 17 points per game. The teams face off on Wednesday night, offering the Trojans an opportunity to mar the Huskies’ perfect conference record and take the top conference spot. Junior forward Nick Rakocevic hangs onto the rim after dunking in the game against Arizona at the Galen Center last Thursday. (Tucker Judkins/Daily Trojan) Hot off a trio of dominant conference victories, the USC men’s basketball team hits the road this week to take on Washington and Washington State. The team vaulted the conference rankings over the weekend, moving quickly to the No. 2 slot early in a season of well-balanced Pac-12 play. In a conference without a single Top 25-ranked team, parity comes to the Trojans’ advantage when vying for an NCAA championship bid. Franks is the team leader in points, averaging 21.2 per game this season, while freshman forward CJ Elleby also adds 16.1 points per game. The rest of the roster averages under double-digits apiece, hefting most of the offensive burdens on the pair of forwards. For the Trojans, the game is a must-win, both to continue the team’s momentum and to separate itself from the bottom tier of the conference. The team will then head to Pullman to face Washington State on Saturday. While their in-state rivals have dominated the Pac-12, the Cougars have had far less luck, notching only one win in conference play and going 8-12 overall so far this season. The team’s lone win came in an 82-59 victory over Cal, the winless bottom team in the league, with junior forward Robert Franks ripping off 24 points to lead the win. This weekend, the Trojans have a chance to secure their first road win of the season and knock off the top-ranked team in the conference — the Huskies are undefeated in Pac-12 play and 16-4 overall. Washington has been decisive in their victories, most recently stomping Oregon State 79-69 and Oregon 61-56, and they have yet to drop a loss at home. Washington will host USC on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
The two most successful clubs in English football-Manchester United and Liverpool will this weekend renew hostilities in an encounter that headlines the Premier LeagueWhile Liverpool had been struggling of late, their Sunday host, Manchester United had been on a winning streak in all competitions.Little wonder, former Anfield midfielder, Didi Hamann is of the opinion that Liverpool will struggle to handle a resurgent United on Sunday. The Red Devils look to be back in the title chace after a run of six league wins on the bounce moved them 10 points behind leaders, Chelsea.The Red Devils currently trail second-place Liverpool by four points but could cut the gap on their fierce rivals to just one point with a win at Old Trafford this weekend. Hamann is confident Mourinho can continue United’s impressive form until the end of the season.Liverpool are five points behind Chelsea but failed to beat relegation battlers, Sunderland and League Two outfit, Plymouth in the FA Cup.The former Liverpool star said: “Once Jose Mourinho’s team start rolling, they’re like a juggernaut – they can be incredibly hard to stop. United are unbeaten in 11 league games now – when he was at Chelsea Jose went on an unbeaten league run of 40 games and it wasn’t a one-off. “Chelsea had six unbeaten stretches that went over 12 games in the league under Mourinho’s watch. Manchester United haven’t been too successful in recent years but there is huge belief in the camp. “They are a serious force, and there’s no reason why this momentum would stop between now and May. United still have a massive role to play in the title race.“Ten points is a lot of ground to make up on Chelsea, but in the third week of December they were nine points off fourth place. Now they’re only three points away from Man City in fourth, and can close the gap to Liverpool to two if they win on Sunday. It isn’t impossible.”Meanwhile, Mourinho has said he, his players and even the club’s supporters would need to raise their game when arch rivals Liverpool visit Old Trafford this weekend.United beat Hull City 2-0 in Tuesday’s League Cup semifinal first leg to make it nine games in succession, while Liverpool suffered a one nil loss to Southampton on Wednesday. However, with the Reds five points above the Devils in second place in the table, Mourinho wants everyone to be at their very best on Sunday.“I think now about Sunday. I need to do better on Sunday, the players need to do better and the stadium they need to do better,” Mourinho said.Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion skipper, Darren Fletcher is hoping his side can extend their unbeaten run against Tottenham Hotspur when they travel to White Hart Lane in the Premier League today.West Brom, who are eighth in the league, have managed to avoid defeat in their last three encounters with the North London club, including a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns in October.Spurs have not lost at home this season but 31-year-old Scotland international Fletcher is eyeing another positive result that could push West Brom up to seventh.“We managed to get a point against them earlier on in the season,” Fletcher told West Brom’s official website.“We know we are going to have to be on top of our game on Saturday, (today) but we have done well there in the past and hopefully we can get another positive result.”Third-placed Spurs are on a run of six consecutive victories in all competitions, while West Brom have won their last two Premier League matches.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram