USC looks to extend hot start following COVID-related hiatus

After its scorching start was put on pause through the holidays because of COVID-19 issues, the USC men’s basketball team returned to practice with an eye on extending its 12-0 run to open the season.

Nineteen days will have passed between games when USC faces California in Berkeley on Thursday night. In the meantime, the Trojans have had one nonconference game canceled and two Pac-12 games postponed. It’s still unclear when USC plans to reschedule its matchups with Arizona State and Arizona, which had been slated for this past Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

Another upcoming conference game could be in jeopardy, as Stanford has already postponed its matchup with UCLA scheduled for Thursday. The Cardinal, who are dealing with their own COVID pause, have yet to announce their status ahead of Saturday night’s matchup against USC. But for now, the Trojans are planning to travel to Palo Alto for the second game of their Bay Area trip.

USC, which is 2-0 in Pac-12 play, rose to seventh in the Associated Press poll during its nearly three-week pause, its highest ranking since the 1974-75 season.

The Trojans have started this strong once before under coach Andy Enfield, opening the 2016-17 season with 14 straight wins. But USC lost four of its next six and 10 of its final 22 games. That season ended with a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament.

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