Local college basketball defies expectations

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(Photo by Keen Report)

Football season is over, and it’s time for college basketball to grab the spotlight.

We’re just a few weeks out from the PAC-12 Tournament, and then selections for the NCAA Tournament.

One local team is a lock for the Big Dance, and the other is going to have to get hot quickly to qualify.

But if you haven’t been paying attention you may be confused about which is which. So far, the year has not gone according to a script for the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans.

UCLA – 9th in the PAC 12 and struggling – is facing a critical game tonight against Arizona in Tucson.

USC, meanwhile, has far exceeded expectations. The Trojans are in second place in the PAC 12. They play Arizona State tonight.

Zach Helfand covers USC and UCLA hoops for the Los Angeles Times. He talks about about what we can look forward to as the season plays out: