USC Travels To Arizona To Face The Wildcats On Thursday
Feb. 26, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC men's basketball team (17-9, 8-6) will play at Arizona (17-10, 7-7) on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. (MT) at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. USC has won eight of 11 games and is currently in fourth place in the Pac-10.
SCOUTING ARIZONA -- USC snapped a 21-game losing streak at Arizona last season with a 80-75 win. Arizona defeated USC 80-69 on Jan 31 this season at the Galen Center to snap the Trojans' three-game winning streak against the Wildcats. The Wildcats are led in scoring by freshman Jerryd Bayless (21.1) and sophomore Chase Budinger (17.4). Arizona leads in the all-time series 54-36.
TROJANS CRUISE PAST BEAVERS -- USC scored the first 10 points and jumped out to a 34-5 lead vs. Oregon State and cruised to a 81-53 victory on Feb. 23 at the Galen Center. USC owned a 43-16 lead at the half as they held OSU to 22.6 percent shooting. The 16 first-half points by the Beavers were a season low and a Trojan opponent low for any half this season. OSU finished hitting 33.8 percent of its shots in the game, while USC hit 49.1 percent from the floor, including 55.0 percent from three-point range. O.J. Mayo led four Trojans in double figures with 21 points.
ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at Arizona State (17-9, 7-7) at Wells Fargo Arena on March 1 at 4 p.m. (MT). USC defeated Arizona State 67-53 on Feb. 2 at the Galen Center and leads the all-time series 45-30. The Sun Devils are led in scoring by freshman James Harden who is averaging 18.0 points per game.
MAYO GARNERS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- Freshman O.J. Mayo was named Pac-10 and SportingNews.com Player of the Week (Feb. 18-24) as he tallied 53 points to lead USC to a home sweep of the Oregon schools. He hit .471 percent of his shots (16-for-34) and was even better from three-point range, hitting at a .643 clip (9-for-14). In the win vs. Oregon, Mayo led USC back from a 15-point first-half deficit and 13-point second half deficit by tallying 32 points. He assisted on the play that gave USC its first lead, then hit a three-pointer which snapped a 61-all tie and gave the Trojans the lead for good. Mayo scored 18 of the Trojans final 24 points. In the win vs. OSU, Mayo scored 21 points in 25 minutes, with three steals, five rebounds and hit 4 of 7 three-pointers. During the week, he moved into second place all-time in scoring by a USC freshman and took over the USC freshman record for three-pointers in a season when he hit four vs. OSU to give him 66 for the year. Gabe Pruitt held the previous Trojan freshman record with 63 three-pointers in 2005.
SELECTION MONDAY -- Monday CBS-TV selected the March 8 USC-Stanford game and set the start time for 11 a.m. Clark Kellogg and Gus Johnson will call the action.
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED -- On a roster that features no seniors and just three juniors, the Trojans are relying on the underclassmen to handle much of the scoring. In the first 26 games, USC's freshmen scored 952 of the 1791 points (53.2 percent) and the freshman and sophomores accounted for 1723 of the 1791 points (96.4 percent). The 96.2 percent of the team's scoring coming from underclassmen is the highest in the country.
IN TIM WE TRUST -- Tim Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 20 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 302-164 record (17-9 in 2007-08) in his 15 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-08). He won his 300th career game on Feb. 7 at Washington. Floyd posted a 42-25 record in his first two seasons as USC's head coach, the most wins by a Trojan coach in his first two seasons. Nine of his first 14 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (6 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 12 players in his 14 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,433-1,026 in their first 102 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 72 of the first 101 seasons.
TROJANS RISE IN THE FALL -- USC is the first school in history to have a team reach the NCAA championship game in men's water polo (lost) and women's soccer (won), the NCAA Final Four in women's volleyball (lost in semis) and a BCS bowl game in football, (win) all in the same fall semester as the Trojans did in 2007.
TROJAN TIDBITS -- USC does not have a senior on the roster...USC's Taj Gibson was a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Award candidate, the first Trojan since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate...Gibson is also ranked as the No. 10 center in the country by The Sporting News and the No. 7 center by Lindy's...Gibson has been named a preseason third-team All-American by Rivals. O.J. Mayo is on the Bob Cousy Award candidates watch list and is rated the No. 2 point guard by The Sporting News and the No. 7 point guard by Lindy's. He also was named a preseason first-team All-American and picked as the Player of the Year by ESPN's Andy Katz and ESPN's Doug Gottlieb listed Mayo as a first-team preseason All-American. Mayo has also been selected by Collegehoops.next as the preseason Freshman of the Year. On Jan. 26, he was named to the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy top 30 candidates list.
PAC-10 PRESEASON RANKINGS -- The Trojans were picked to finish in sixth place in the Pac-10 conference this season, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. UCLA was picked to win the conference with 339 votes, followed by Washington State (273), Oregon (240), Arizona (238), Stanford (205), USC (184), California (140), Washington (132), Arizona State (81) and Oregon State (38). Last season, USC was a preseason No. 6 pick in the conference and finished tied for third.
MAYO NAMED TO WOODEN & NAISMITH MID-SEASON TOP 30 -- Freshman guard O.J. Mayo was named as one of the top 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, the nation's most coveted college basketball Player of the Year awards it was announced on Jan. 26. Mayo is one of six freshman to make the list.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2007-08 schedule features six games against teams ranked in the current top eight. USC has played 12 games against teams that are ranked or were ranked at one point this season and three of the final four games are against teams that have been ranked this season, making it 15 of 30 games. USC's win over No. 4 UCLA on Jan. 19 gives them 10 wins over Top 25 teams in the last 2 seasons, tied for the second-most in the country with Oregon behind UCLA's 15 according to STATS, Inc.
HE CAN SURE HACKETT AT THE LINE -- Sophomore Daniel Hackett has made 82.4 percent (61-for-74) of his free throws this season, sixth best among Pac-10 players. He missed a free throw vs. Washington on Jan. 12 to snap a streak of 17 consecutive free throws made. He tied a career high by making 11 free throws (11-for-15) on Jan. 26 at Oregon. He entered that game having made 24 of his previous 25 attempts from the charity stripe.
INJURY UPDATES -- Kasey Cunningham tore his left ACL and meniscus on Dec. 12 and had surgery on Dec. 28. He is expected to be out until next season. Daniel Hackett was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back on Feb. 11 and began core strengthening exercises on Feb. 12. Marcus Simmons (left ankle sprain) played on Feb. 23 for the first time since Jan. 24.
THE USC BLOCK EXCHANGE IS RISING -- USC had a season-high nine blocks on Feb. 7 at Washington and has had 52 blocks in the last nine games (5.8 per game). USC has 117 blocks as a team this season which rank ninth all-time in a season by a Trojan team. Last year's team finished with 148 blocks, good for third all-time by a Trojan team.
LONG DISTANCE MARKSMEN -- In its last two games, USC has made 21 of 39 shots (53.8 percent) from three-point range. USC made 10 of 19 vs. Oregon and 11 of 20 three-point shots against Oregon State.
INSIDE THE LOSSES -- In four of USC's nine losses, the Trojans did not have the starting lineup intact and in a fifth loss (Arizona), Daniel Hackett was injured two minutes into the game and did not return. In the loss on Feb. 9 at Washington State, Hackett played but was limited due to back spasms.
INSIDE THE LOSSES, PART II -- The composite record of the opponent in the nine games which USC has lost is 182-60, with 17 of the losses appearing on Mercer's ledger. Five of USC's nine losses this season are to teams that are currently or were previously ranked in the top four in the country and seven of the nine teams have been ranked this season in the Top 25.
THE PAC-10 ROAD CAN BE ROUGH -- USC is 4-3 on the road in the Pac-10 and has had only two winning conference road records in the last 15 seasons, going 5-4 away from home in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Last year USC went 4-5 on the road in the Pac-10 slate by losing the last two road games at Washington and Washington State. Only 11 times in the last four years has any Pac-10 team posted a .500 or better road record in conference play (27.5 percent). USC's loss at Washington State on Feb. 9 snapped a four-game conference road winning streak, its longest since the 1992 season when they won five consecutive Pac-10 road games.
GIBSON IS DOUBLE TROUBLE -- Sophomore forward Taj Gibson had 16 points and 12 rebounds on Feb. 17 vs. UCLA for his fourth double-double of the season. He had 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win at Oregon State on Jan. 24, 20 points and 12 rebounds in the win vs. San Diego on Nov. 22 and 13 points and 14 rebounds in the loss vs. Mercer on Nov. 10. He now has 15 career double-doubles (points and rebounds).
HOT SHOT GIBSON -- USC sophomore Taj Gibson has been on fire from the field hitting 70.9 percent of his shots in the last 16 games (78-for-110). Gibson leads all players in conference play with a .697 field goal percentage (69-for-99), 10 percent higher than the next Pac-10 player DeVon Hardin (.594). His current season average of 59.34 percent (108-for-182) would rank as the second-best shooting percentage by a Trojan if the season were to end today, trailing Jeff McMillan's 62.96 set in 2004. Gibson's 55.58 shooting percentage last season is the ninth-best shooting percentage in a season by a Trojan.
TOEING THE LINE -- USC was 27-for-36 (75 percent) from the free throw line at Oregon on Jan. 26, a season high in makes and attempts. USC is shooting 69.3 (235-for-339) percent from the free throw line in the last 18 games, after shooting 65.7 percent from the charity stripe in the first eight games. USC's best game (10 or more shots) from the line was on Nov. 17 at South Carolina when they made 23 of 27 free throws (85.2 percent). The Trojans have hit 68.1 percent of their free throws (352-for-517) this season. Last season as a team USC hit 71.5 percent of its free throws, its best mark since hitting 71.8 percent from the charity stripe in 1984. USC has out-shot its opponents from the free throw line this season 517-381. USC is 11-2 in games it shoots 20 or more free throws.
WSU DOES MERCER ONE BETTER -- USC allowed Washington State to shoot an opponent season-high 59.6 percent (28-for-47) on Feb. 9, surpassing the 59.4 percent (38-for-64) that first-game opponent Mercer hit on Nov. 10 at Galen Center. These are the two highest shooting percentage in a game by a Trojan foe since UCLA made 60.7 percent of its shots on Feb. 24, 2005.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 34 teams to under 60 points in Tim Floyd's first 93 games as USC's head coach. The Trojans have held 17 of their opponents this season to 38.2 percent shooting or less, making it 49 times in the first 93 games (52.7 percent) under Floyd that USC has held its opponents to 40 percent shooting or less. USC was outshot 45.7 to 59.6 percent on Feb. 9 at Washington State, just the third time in 26 games this season that the Trojans were outshot from the field. USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 54 of the last 63 games.
MAKING IT HARD TO SCORE -- Through games of Feb. 23, USC ranks 13th in the country and second in the Pac-10 in defensive field goal percentage at 38.8 percent. USC held OSU to 27.7 percent shooting on Jan. 24, the seventh opponent that the Trojans have held to its lowest percentage of the season as of that game, the others being Kansas (37.9), Memphis (37.3), Oklahoma (35.6), Stanford (27.0), Washington (33.3) and UCLA (33.3). In fact USC has held UCLA to its two lowest shooting percentages of the season.
JEFFERSON NAMED COLLEGEHOOPS.NET PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Trojan freshman forward scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 72-63 win at UCLA on Jan. 19 to earn CollegeHoops.net's Player of the Week honors for the week of Jan. 14-20. Jefferson scored 10 of USC's final 12 points, including the last eight points in the game. He had 12 points and a career-high 13 rebounds on Dec. 4 vs. Memphis for his first career double-double. Jefferson scored 17 points vs. Delaware St. on Dec. 17 and Feb. 7 at Washington, 18 at Oregon State on Jan. 24 and 19 vs. Arizona on Jan. 31. He is averaging 12.8 points (256 total) and 6.4 rebounds (128 total) in his last 20 games. The five-star recruit from Lynwood, Calif. played in his first game on Nov. 22 vs San Diego and scored five points in 19 minutes and hasn't slowed down since. Jefferson had his early season progress slowed due to a left knee injury in the preseason. He then led USC with 20 points in the Anaheim Classic finals win over Southern Illinois on Nov. 25 and with 23 points in his first career start on Nov. 29 vs. Oklahoma.
AS TOUGH AS IT GETS -- Six of USC's 26 games (23 percent) have been against teams currently or previously ranked in the top four in the country.
COMPARING THE WINS VS. LOSSES -- It has been well documented that the Trojans have struggled this season when not fielding the normal starting lineup. Here are a few other things to note about USC in wins vs. losses:
WINS LOSSES .519 Field Goal Percentage .427 .443 Three-point Percentage .264 13.6 Turnovers Per Game 17.2 13.9 Assists Per Game 9.8 +1.0 Rebound Differential -5.3 22.2 USC FT Taken Per Game 15.4 12.2 Opponent FT Taken Per Game 19.2
STINGY DEFENSE -- When USC allowed California 92 points on Jan. 3, it was just the second time in Tim Floyd's three years as the Trojan head coach that they allowed 90 or more points in a game, both times this season. It also snapped a streak of nine straight Trojan opponents held to 62 points or less. USC had held the opposition to an average of 54.4 (490 total) points in the previous nine games. The last time USC had held its opponents to 62 points or less for nine consecutive games was in the 1950 season (Jan. 27-March 3, 1950). USC has held 17 of 26 teams it has faced this season to 62 points or less (and one to 63 points).
GIBSON MOVES UP THE CHARTS -- Sophomore Taj Gibson had six blocks on Nov. 16 at The Citadel, the most since he had a career-high seven blocks on Jan. 4, 2007 at Oregon, which had tied for the fourth most in a game by a Trojan. He has had five games of four blocks this season and registered five blocks vs. UCLA on Feb. 17. He added four blocks on Feb. 23 vs. Oregon State to give him 133 career blocks moving past Rory O'Neill (129) into sole possession of second place on USC's all-time shot block list. Sam Clancy is the school leader with 195 career swats.
TROJANS CAPTURE ANAHEIM CLASSIC TITLE -- USC defeated No. 19 Southern Illinois 70-45 on Nov. 25 to capture the inaugural Anaheim Classic title at the Anaheim Convention Center. USC shot 59.5 percent from the floor, while holding the Salukis to 32.7 percent shooting. Davon Jefferson led the Trojans with 20 points. Southern Illinois had defeated its first three opponents by an average of 18.7 points. USC's 70 points marked just the third time in the last 40 games that SIU had allowed 70 or more points. USC had defeated San Diego (60-50) in the first round and Miami of Ohio (57-53) in the semi-finals. O.J. Mayo was named tournament MVP as he averaged 18.0 points and 3.7 rebounds helping lead USC to the title with wins over San Diego, Miami (OH) and Southern Illinois.
BRINGING OUT THE WORST IN THE OPPOSITION -- USC has held 12 of 26 opponents to either their worst or second worst shooting percentage of the season to that date and has held 12 of 26 teams to their first or second lowest points total in the 2007-08 season. The Trojans held Kansas, Memphis, Oklahoma, Stanford, Washington, UCLA (lowest 2) and Oregon State to their worst shooting percentage and Kansas, Memphis, Stanford, Washington, Oregon State and UCLA to their lowest point total.
DWIGHT DOING IT RIGHT -- Trojan sophomore guard Dwight Lewis, who grew up in Metairie, La. but was uprooted by hurricane Katrina to Katy, Texas, scored a career-high 24 points in the 95-86 overtime win at Oregon on Jan. 26. His previous high scoring game was 18 points in the wins at South Carolina on Nov. 17 and vs. Delaware State on Dec. 17. He has scored in double-figures in 15 of 26 games this season. Lewis reached double-figures in scoring eight times in his freshman season.
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS -- With the win at Washington on Feb. 7 and the loss at WSU on Feb. 9, USC is 6-3 in road games this season. The Trojans started 2-0 on the road for just the second time in the last seven seasons and fourth time in the last 32 seasons with early-season wins at The Citadel and South Carolina. The last time USC six road games in a season was during the 2003-04 season when it went 6-7 away from the Sports Arena. The last time the Trojans won more road games in a season was in the 2001-02 season (9-5).
IT'S GETTING OFFENSIVE -- In the win at UCLA on Jan. 19, USC was outrebounded 39-30, including allowing the Bruins an opponent season-high 25 offensive boards. USC has allowed 10 opponents to register 15 or more offensive rebounds in a game this season. USC has allowed 40 or more rebounds in a game 7 times this season and has been outrebounded 16 times, including in 12 of the last 15 games. USC has more defensive boards that its opponents 641-538, but have been outrebounded on the offensive glass 356-222.
HACKETT'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE EARNS HIM TSN'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Guard Daniel Hackett was named The Sporting News National Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 12-18, as he averaged 21.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds, while making 71.4 percent of his shots. Hackett, who had missed six weeks with a broken jaw which was wired shut until Nov. 9 and returned to full practice for the first time on Nov. 12, scored a career high 21 points in his first game back in the 74-47 win at The Citadel on Nov. 15 and followed that up with a new career best of 22 points in the 85-75 win at South Carolina on Nov. 17. In the South Carolina game, Hackett also had career highs in rebounds (10) and assists (10) for a rare triple-double, the first by a Trojan player in at least 30 seasons.
DYNAMIC DEBUTS FOR MAYO -- O.J. Mayo scored 32 points in his collegiate debut on Nov. 10 vs. Mercer, a new USC record for a freshman in his first collegiate game. His 32-point total was at the time the sixth-most by a Trojan freshman in a single game, with the record being 39 by Cliff Robinson on Feb. 2, 1978 vs. California. The 32 points scored by Mayo were also the most in a game by a player in the two-year history of the Galen Center. Mayo then added a 34-point game on Jan. 3 at California in his Pac-10 debut. Mayo's 34 points were the most by a Trojan since Gabe Pruitt scored 36 on Dec. 10, 2005 at LMU. The 34 points also tied for the fifth most ever in a game by a USC freshman. Mayo then tied his Galen Center record with 32 on Feb. 21 vs. Oregon.
USC Top Single-Game Freshman Scoring Records 39 - Cliff Robinson, Feb. 2, 1978 vs. California 37 - Harold Miner, Dec. 28, 1989 vs. Central Connecticut State 37 - Harold Miner, Jan. 25, 1990 vs. Oregon State 35 - Cliff Robinson, Jan. 20, 1978 vs. Portland State 34 - O.J. Mayo, Jan. 3, 2008 at California Harold Miner, Feb. 15, 1990 vs. Stanford 32 - O.J. Mayo, Nov. 10, 2007 vs. Mercer 32 - O.J. Mayo, Feb. 21, 2008 vs. Oregon
PAC-1O's TURN -- The Pac-10 has never had a team finish conference play with a .500 record or worse and make the NCAA Tournament, but this could be the year. With the Pac-10 being the top-rated conference and with four teams currently at .500 or within two games of .500 and nine of 10 conference teams with a season record above .500, it would make sense that this would be the year for the Pac-10. There is precedent in other conferences, as 15 teams in the last five seasons have gained an at-large berth with conference record of .500 or less:
2003: Indiana (20-12, 8-8), Alabama (17-11, 7-9), LSU (21-10, 8-8), Auburn (21-11, 8-8) 2004: South Carolina (23-10, 8-8), Alabama (17-12, 8-8), Vanderbilt (21-9, 8-8) 2005: Georgia Tech (19-11, 8-8), West Virginia (21-10, 8-8), N.C. State (19-13, 7-9) 2006: Michigan State (22-11, 8-8) 2007: Georgia Tech (20-11, 8-8), Duke (21-10, 8-8), Michigan State (22-11, 8-8), Arkansas (21-13, 7-9)
PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS -- USC has held 17 of the 26 teams it has faced this season to under 40 percent shooting. In the 17 games, the composite shooting percentage of USC's opponents is .340 (355-for-1045). The following is a closer look at the defensive successes that USC has had:
Team Pct. vs. USC Season Pct. Team Pct. vs. USC Season Pct. The Citadel .321 (18-for-56) .408 Cal Poly .350 (21-for-60) .405 South Carolina .377 (26-for-69) .446 UC Riverside .328 (19-for-58) .418 San Diego .328 (19-for-58) .445 Stanford .270 (17-for-63) .452 Southern Illinois.327 (16-for-49) .431 Washington .333 (20-for-60) .447 Oklahoma .356 (21-for-59) .449 UCLA .333 (22-for-66) .485 Kansas .379 (22-for-58) .505 Oregon St. .277 (18-for-65) .378 Memphis .373 (25-for-67) .464 Washington .361 (26-for-72) .447 Delaware St. .382 (21-for-55) .428 UCLA .339 (21-for-62) .485 Oregon St. .338 (23-for-68) .378
JOHNSON RETURNS HOME -- Former UCONN forward Marcus Johnson has transferred to USC and has enrolled in classes for the spring semester. Johnson will be able to play for USC following the fall semester next season. He played in one exhibition game for the Huskies this season and may petition for an extra year of eligibility. The 6-6 Johnson averaged 4.9 points per game in 51 contests for UCONN (24 starts) in his first two seasons. He prepped at Westchester H.S. in Los Angeles and was a consensus Top 50 national recruit.
COMING ATTRACTIONS AT THE GALEN CENTER -- The Trojans announced recruits for the 2008-09 season are guard DeMar DeRozan of Compton, Calif., Percy 'Romeo' Miller from Beverly Hills, Calif. and Donte Smith from Pomona, Calif. With these three signings, the Trojans earned the No. 8 rated recruiting class nationally by HoopScoop. DeRozan, a 6-7, 200-pound guard, averaged 22.3 points per game as a junior leading Compton High to a Moore League title and 26 wins. He really excelled this past summer while playing in the NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, Va., the Nike-sponsored Kobe Bryant 'Wing' Camp at Mater Dei High and the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. DeRozan was ranked by Hoopscoop.com at the top rated player at the LeBron James Skills Academy held last July. DeRozan is the No. 2 ranked high school player in the country by Rivals.com and by Hoopscoop.com and was a first-team selection to the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best In The West Team. Miller, a 5-11, 170-pound point guard from Beverly Hills High in Beverly Hills, Calif., averaged 13.9 points and 5.6 assists as a junior. Miller played at the 2006 ABCD Camp as one of the top 200 high school basketball players. Miller, formerly known as Lil' Romeo, has released five rap and hip-hop albums and had a television show titled, Romeo! Miller also co-starred in a yet to be released movie 'Sweetwater' in which he plays Nat 'Sweetwater' Clifton, the first African-American basketball player to play for an NBA team. Millier is also the son of rapper and hip-hop mogul Master P, who had tryouts with two NBA teams in the 1990s. Smith, a 5-11, 170-pound guard from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., is sitting out this season so he can join USC next year as a sophomore and have three years of eligibility remaining. In his one year of playing at Mt. SAC, he averaged 21.7 points per game, with a season best of 37 points, and made 100 three-point shots. Smith is rated as the No. 1 junior college player by the Jerry Mullens Report. As a senior at Diamond Ranch HS in Pomona, Calif., Smith averaged 18.4 points, 3.2 steals, 4.2 assists and shot 58 percent from three-point range.