USC To Face No. 2/No. 3 UCLA In Pac-10 Tournament Semifinals
March 13, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC men's basketball team (21-10, 11-7) will will take on UCLA (29-3, 16-2) on March 14 at 6 p.m. in semifinal action in the Pac-10 Tournament being held at Staples Center. USC has won 11 of 15 and six of their last seven games. USC tied with Washington State for third place during the Pac-10 regular season.
USC AT THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT -- USC is 9-9 all-time in Pac-10 Tournament games, last year reaching the title game before falling to Oregon, 81-57. USC also reached the finals in 2002 (Arizona) and 2003 (Oregon), but lost both times. USC has not faced Oregon State, UCLA and Washington in Pac-10 Tournament play and has the following records against the other conference foes: Arizona (0-3), Arizona State (2-0), California (1-2), Oregon (1-3), Stanford (3-1) and Washington State (2-0).
SCOUTING UCLA -- UCLA defeated California 88-66 yesterday in the Pac-10 quarterfinals as Darren Collison (19) and Josh Shipp (18) led the way. USC and UCLA split the season series with both teams winning on the other's court, USC winning 72-63 at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 19 and UCLA winning 56-46 at the Galen Center on Feb. 17. USC trails 100-125 in the all-time series between the two schools, but has split the last 14 meetings (7-7). The two teams have never met in the Pac-10 Tournament and the last time they faced each other more than twice in a season was in 1967 when UCLA won all four meetings. UCLA is led in scoring by Kevin Love who averages 17.2 points per game.
TROJANS NIP ASU -- USC defeated Arizona State 59-55 yesterday in the Pac-10 quarterfinals. USC trailed by seven points (49-42) with 9:35 left in the game, then went on a 7-0 run to tie it at 49-all. The teams were tied at 51-51 and 53-53 before a Davon Jefferson three-point play with 5:11 left gave the Trojans the lead for good. O.J. Mayo led USC with 23 points and Jefferson and Taj Gibson both hd 11 points and nine rebounds. USC held Arizona State to 35.3 percent shooting and ASU missed 15 of its final 16 three-pointers.
FOUR TROJANS RECEIVE PAC-10 HONORS -- O.J. Mayo was named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team, Taj Gibson to the third team and Davon Jefferson was selected as honorable mention. Also, Mayo and Jefferson were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, while Angelo Johnson was an honorable mention selection. Gibson was named to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team, while Mayo was an honorable mention pick.
GIBSON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Sophomore Taj Gibson was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 3-9 as he averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in wins over California and Stanford. In the win over No. 7 Stanford, Gibson had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
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 31 games, USC's freshmen scored 1,149 of the 2,156 points (53.3 percent) and the freshman and sophomores accounted for 2,068 of the 2,156 points (95.9 percent). The 95.9 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 306-165 record (21-10 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 1,437-1,027 in their first 102 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 73 of the first 102 seasons.
USC HAS BEST 3-YEAR STRETCH -- The 63 wins in the last three seasons (17 in 2006, 25 in 2007 and 21 in 2008) are the most wins in a three-year stretch in USC history. The previous best had been 62 wins from 2000-02. USC has achieved 17 or more victories in all three years that Tim Floyd has been coach and for the first time in three consecutive seasons since the 1991-93 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.
MAYO AMONG PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES -- Freshman guard O.J. Mayo was named on March 10 as one of the final 24 players on the John R. Wooden Award ballot. The Wooden Award winner will be announced on April 12. Mayo is also one of the top 30 candidates for the Naismith Trophy.
MAYO MAKING HIS MARK -- O.J. Mayo poured in a career-high 37 points on March 1 at Arizona, and has scored at least 20 points in his last seven games, giving him 649 points this season, fourth most ever in a season by a Trojan and a school record for a freshman surpassing Harold Miner's total of 578 points in 1990. Mayo had three three-pointers vs. Arizona State and his season total of 85 ranks as the third most three-pointers made in a season by a USC player. Mayo already established the USC freshman record for three-point baskets in a season. In the last seven games Mayo has averaged 25.7 points (180 total). His 37-point game tied for the 11th best ever by a Trojan. Mayo's average of 20.9 points a game is the highest ever by a Trojan freshman and his three-point field goal percentage (.413) and free throw percentage (.803) are third-best ever by a USC freshman.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2007-08 schedule featured six games against teams ranked in the current top 11. USC played 15 games against teams that are ranked or were ranked at one point this season. USC's win over No. 7 Stanford on March 8 gives them 11 wins over Top 25 teams in the last two seasons, second-most behind UCLA's 16 according to STATS, Inc.
HE CAN SURE HACKETT AT THE LINE -- Sophomore Daniel Hackett has made 80.7 percent (71-for-88) of his free throws this season. 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.
THE USC BLOCK EXCHANGE IS RISING -- USC had a season-high nine blocks on Feb. 7 at Washington and has had 71 blocks in the last 14 games (5.1 per game). USC has 136 blocks as a team this season which rank fourth all-time in a season by a Trojan team.
HOT SHOT GIBSON -- USC's Taj Gibson has been on fire from the field hitting 67.5 percent of his shots in the last 21 games (106-for-157). Gibson led all players in conference play with a .667 field goal percentage (92-for-138). His current season average of 59.39 percent (136-for-229) 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 percentage in 2007 is the 9th-best in a season by a Trojan.
YOU MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED, BUT... -- USC's Davon Jefferson has also had a great first season with USC, cracking the school's freshman top 10 list is points (9th - 324), points per game (9th - 12.0), FG percentage (4th - 56.5), FT made (6th - 69), FT percentage (10th - 73.4), blocks (8th - 26) and rebounds (5th - 171).
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 36 teams to under 60 points in Tim Floyd's first 98 games as USC's head coach. The Trojans have held 19 of their opponents this season to 38.2 percent shooting or less, making it 51 times in the first 98 games (52.0 percent) under Floyd that USC has held its opponents to 40 percent shooting or less. USC was outshot 44.2 to 51.3 percent on March 1 at Arizona State, just the fourth time in 31 games this season that the Trojans were outshot from the field. USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 58 of the last 68 games.
MAKING IT HARD TO SCORE -- Through games of March 8, USC ranks 16th in the country and tops in the Pac-10 in defensive field goal percentage at 39.3 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 held UCLA and Stanford to their two lowest shooting percentages of the season.
LEARNING THE BOARD GAME -- 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, but has outrebounded the opposition in a season high seven consecutive games. USC has more defensive boards that its opponents 760-634, but has been outrebounded on the offensive glass 399-285. The four offensive rebounds USC held Arizona to on Feb. 28 and ASU to on March 1 were a season low by an opponent, but in 12 of the last 16 games the opposition has had at least 10 offensive rebounds.