Stanford Battles Conference Leader USC Wednesday In Pac-10 Home Opener
Jan. 4, 2010
Stanford Cardinal (6-7, 0-1 Pac-10)
USC Trojans (10-4, 2-0 Pac-10)
Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 7 p.m.
Maples Pavilion (7,329) Stanford, CA
Series History: USC leads 118-117
Last Meeting: Stanford 75, USC 63 (Feb. 28, 2009)
Radio: XTRA Sports 860 AM (PBP: Dave Flemming, Analyst: John Platz)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Kevin Danna, Analyst: Frederick Alexander)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (6-7, 0-1 Pac-10) welcomes the LA schools to Maples Pavilion this week, beginning with Wednesday's Pac-10 home opener against USC (10-4, 2-0 Pac-10). For the first time since a 4-6 start during the 2005-06 campaign, Stanford's record is under .500 during the month of January. Picked to finish ninth in the preseason media poll, the Trojans are riding an eight-game winning streak since their last loss back on Dec. 5. Stanford dropped a 92-66 decision at California in last week's Pac-10 opener for both teams, so the Cardinal is looking to rebound on its home court.
Wednesday's game can be heard live on XTRA Sports 860 AM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com, featuring the chemistry-rich tandem of Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and John Platz (analyst). KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with Kevin Danna (play-by-play) and Frederick Alexander (analyst). A webcast will also be available at www.gostanford.com.
Stanford's homestand concludes on Saturday against UCLA in a 3 p.m. tip-off. Next up for the Cardinal is a road trip against Washington and Washington State.
After starting 2-4, USC has ripped off eight consecutive wins since a 79-53 loss at Georgia Tech back on Dec. 5. The Trojans are receiving votes in both national polls.
USC came away with a sweep during the first week of Pac-10 action, thanks to lock-down defensive efforts against Arizona (56-50) and Arizona State (47-37).
The Trojans have played only two road games this year, losing at Texas and Georgia Tech by double-digit margins.
USC's calling card has been a stifling defense that is limiting opponents to 54.5 points and 30.5 rebounds per game along with a 36 percent shooting clip from the field. However, the Trojans also average 59.5 points and 15.5 turnovers per game.
Four players are averaging double-figure scoring, led by Mike Gerrity's 12.5 points per game despite only playing in six contests. Nikola Vucevic (12.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg) is shooting 54.2 percent overall with 20 blocks while Dwight Lewis adds 12.1 ppg.
Head coach Kevin O'Neill returns to the Pac-10 and is in his first season in Los Angeles.
Stanford All-Time vs. USC
USC holds a 118-117 lead in the all-time series. Last year's meetings were split, with the Trojans squeezing out a 70-69 triumph in Los Angeles before the Cardinal answered with a 75-63 victory on Senior Day. The last 10 meetings between the two schools have been split at 5-5. USC has not won at Maples Pavilion since Feb. 21, 2002, when the Trojans walked away with a 77-58 triumph.
Who To Watch Against USC
Landry Fields has averaged 7.0 points per game in seven career contests. Fields has made 17-38 from the field and added 18 points in Stanford's 70-69 loss to USC last January.
Stanford Drops Pac-10 Opener At Cal, 92-66
Jerome Randle had 24 points and seven assists, and Pac-10 favorite California cruised to a 92-66 victory over rival Stanford in the conference opener for both teams. Max Zhang contributed a career-high 13 points to go along with four rebounds and three blocked shots. Stanford received a team-high 23 points from Jeremy Green while Landry Fields registered his sixth double-double of the year with 20 points and 10 boards. However, Stanford was held to 41 percent shooting overall and received only 14 points from its bench compared to 40 from California. California shot 59.6 percent overall and 63.3 percent over the first 20 minutes, resulting in a 45-25 lead at halftime. The Golden Bears connected on 20-28 tries from the free throw line and held a 35-31 advantage on the boards.
Takeaways From The California Game
Landry Fields has now produced nine consecutive 20-point games. He is the only Stanford player since at least 1960 to accomplish the feat.
Stanford has won the opening tip in 10 straight games since Oral Roberts controlled the first jump ball back on Nov. 18.
Stanford has dropped three straight Pac-10 openers since a win at Arizona State in 2007.
Unlike last year's hot-shooting first half in Berkeley that saw Stanford shoot 67.9 percent and knock down 9-12 three-pointers, the Cardinal was held to 28.1 percent over the first 20 minutes on Saturday evening and made just 1-9 from beyond the arc.
Closing Out Non-Conference Play
The Cardinal closed out non-conference play at 6-6. Last year, Stanford finished 13-0 against non-league competition, joining North Carolina (20-0) and Pittsburgh (16-0) as the only Division I programs to finish with an undefeated non-conference record.
Finding Scoring Balance
For the second consecutive season, Stanford is receiving offensive contributions from all over the floor. Last year, the Cardinal placed at least four players in double-figure scoring 16 times. In 2009-10, Stanford has accomplished the same feat already on six occasions, including a season-best six players in double-figures against Florida A&M back on Nov. 21.
Four of Stanford's seven losses have come by eights points or less. Among those close calls were an 83-81 home decision to Oral Roberts on a buzzer-beater and a 71-70 home setback to Oklahoma State despite having an opportunity to win the contest on its final possession. Conversely, four of Stanford's six wins have come by double-digits.
Sharing The Ball, Forcing Mistakes
Stanford's commitment to sharing the basketball and forcing opponents into turnovers is once again paying dividends. A trend that developed last year under head coach Johnny Dawkins has continued in 2009-10, as the Cardinal leads the Pac-10 and has been ranked among the nation's best in assist/turnover ratio and turnover margin for the majority of this season. Stanford has tallied 194 assists on 344 field goals so far, including a season-best 23 dimes against Portland State on Nov. 29.