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It’s hard to believe Arizona’s loss to Oregon was just five days ago. It seems like eons since the Ducks overcame a 6-point deficit late in regulation to eventually defeat the Wildcats 73-72 in overtime. The home loss was indeed a tough pill to swallow. However, there’s no rest for the weary as Arizona now faces a hungry USC team on the road tonight in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (19-9, 8-7 Pac-12) are a legitimate NCAA bubble team that absolutely must beat a school like Arizona to ultimately get over the hump and receive an invite to the Big Dance. How Arizona handles a desperate club away from home, while still trying to rebound from the Oregon loss, will tell fans a lot about Arizona’s own long term chance at success.

Arizona (19-8, 9-5 Pac-12) enters the night on a 4-game winning streak in conference road games. During the streak, Arizona is outscoring its opponents by nearly 10 points and outrebounding opponents by nearly six boards per game. The streak, right now, is the one thing working in Arizona’s favor as the team struggles to remain in the regular season conference race. Despite only being one game behind frontrunner Arizona State in the loss column, a heckuvah lot of positive things must happen over the final two weeks of the regular season for Arizona to emerge atop the league standings.

Despite winning five of the last six games against USC and owning a 14-4 record against the Trojans under Miller, playing in Los Angeles has never been easy for the Wildcats.

For fans who have attended games at USC, they know full well that even a half empty Galen Center can get loud and rowdy really, really fast. This is worrisome for an Arizona team that, so far, has struggled to secure wins in nip-and-tuck games. If Arizona is unable to keep USC fans in their seats tonight with their play, then things could again get dicey for the Wildcats.

Arizona is favored to win, but that’s just on paper.

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To emerge victorious the Wildcats simply need to execute.

There is no magic offense or defense. There is no guarantee open jump shots are going to fall. As Miller pointed out in this week’s press conference, everybody is in March Madness now. The hard work has been done, the conditioning is over. Now, it’s about executing under pressure in order to beat anyone.

Miller openly questioned his team’s toughness after the Oregon loss. How the Wildcats respond to their coach’s public challenge, how they handle a raucous road crowd, and how they execute against a well-coached, equally athletic USC team will determine if the Wildcats walk away feeling good or left answering even more questions from an increasingly frustrated fan base that knows Arizona has already left multiple wins on the table.

Arizona continues to lead Pac-12 schools in overall scoring average for the season (78.2) and in conference games (73.0). The Wildcats are No. 7 in the NCAA Net Rankings and boast the fifth toughest schedule in the nation.

These statistics and rankings are feathers in Arizona’s cap, but literally mean nothing once the ball goes up tonight at USC.

Tip time is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ESPN. Dave Pasch and Bill Walton are on the call, which always makes for an informative broadcast whether your interests are basketball, wildlife, arts and sciences, or random facts you’ll likely never need in everyday life.