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WSU heads to LA for a Wednesday rematch with USC

USC forward Bennie Boatwright  drives past Washington State guard Charles Callison when the teams met Feb. 4 in Pullman. (Kai Eiselein / AP)
USC forward Bennie Boatwright drives past Washington State guard Charles Callison when the teams met Feb. 4 in Pullman. (Kai Eiselein / AP)

PULLMAN–The momentum the Washington State men’s basketball team has built during a two-game winning streak will be tested during the final week of basketball before the Pac-12 tournament begins. The Cougars (13-15, 6-10 Pac-12) head to Los Angeles for a pair of rematches against teams that each beat WSU in Pullman earlier this year.

First up is a 7 p.m. contest on Wednesday at USC (21-8, 8-8), which beat the Cougars 86-77 in their first meeting. In that game WSU was unable to contend with athletic forward Chimezie Metu, who missed just two shots on his way to 29 points and eight rebounds.

The Trojans seemed like a surefire NCAA tournament team earlier this year, but are firmly on the bubble after losing their last four games. The first three of those losses should not hurt their postseason chances too badly – they came against the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 teams in the country.

But last week’s 83-82 loss to Arizona State was a major setback, and the Trojans need to sweep the Washington schools this weekend, and probably do some damage in the Pac-12 tournament as well.

WSU is coming off a stirring Senior Night win over rival Washington, in which all four seniors scored in double-figures. The Cougars are currently in a three-way tie for eighth-place in the Pac-12 with Colorado and Stanford, though Stanford holds a tie-breaker with the Cougars.

Regardless, WSU is likely to play one of those teams or ASU in its first Pac-12 tournament matchup. The Cougars have beaten each team except the Cardinal already this season, and Stanford did not make a trip to Pullman.

WSU has not won a Pac-12 tournament game since the 2008-2009 season.

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