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Saturday, February 6, 2010
Preview: Stanford at USC


Stanford and USC will butt heads at the Galen Center today.

The Cardinal got a career-high 35 points from forward Landry Fields in a loss to UCLA on Thursday. Fields is on a tear of late, averaging 30 points on only 17 shots in his last four games.

Stanford (10-12, 4-6) also has another offensive threat in guard Jeremy Green. Green, who scored 17 points the last time the Trojans and Cardinal played in January, averages 18 a game.

Together, Fields and Green make for a formidable combination.

"When you have two players of that magnitude — of that skill, you can beat anybody," USC coach Kevin O'Neill said after his team practiced Friday. "Any time, anywhere."

But according to O'Neill, Stanford's weaponry doesn't stop there. The first-year USC head coach says the Cardinal offer up more than a prolific 1-2 punch.

"I like their other players better than everybody else does," O'Neill said. 'They have good role players, guys who can make shots when you double Green and Fields."

In January, role player/starting point guard Jarrett Mann made the winning free throw for the Cardinal in its final-minute 54-53 win over USC, and role player/starting forward Andrew Zimmermann had a crucial 10 points.

Without those two, the outcome might've been different.

As for the Trojans (13-9, 5-5), a 67-63 win over Cal on Thursday showed that offense isn't completely foreign to them. In fact, four USC players scored in double figures — including 13 from guard Dwight Lewis and 12 from point guard Mike Gerrity.

The offense manifested itself in a 25-0 run for the ages that took USC from a 30-17 deficit to a 42-30 lead.

Reflecting on the run and the game as a whole, O'Neill and his players said the run started on the defensive end.

O'Neill estimated his team had the ball in its possession "probably 80 percent" of the time during the run. Just about every time the Bears managed to push the ball back, a steal or quick rebound would get USC back on the offensive.

"To me, when we get stops defensively, we're always more effective offensively," O'Neill said.

Tip-off' is 4:30 p.m. Prime Ticket has the broadcast, and we'll have in-game updates on the blog.