Thursday, March 4, 2010
Preview: USC at Arizona State
By Pedro Moura
5:30 p.m. tip-off tonight in Tempe, Ariz., for the Trojans and Sun Devils.
It's a big game for both teams — USC (16-12, 8-8) needs to win to avoid spiraling further downward as its season ends; ASU (20-9, 10-6) needs to win to keep the chance to share the Pac-10 title with Cal.
The last time these schools met in Arizona, former USC coach Tim Floyd was ejected in the final minute of play after a controversial foul call on then-Trojan Daniel Hackett. ASU's Derek Glasser had a career-high 18 points in that game. He's averaging 10 points and five assists per contest this year as the Sun Devils' leader on the floor, but ASU has also received solid production from guard Ty Abbott (12.3 points per game) and Rihards Kuksiks (11.4).
For the Trojans, scoring has been at a premium over their last three games. USC has scored a total of 135 points over its last three games — an average of 45. Leading scorers for the Trojans in that span: Dwight Lewis with an average of 11 and Nikola Vucevic with seven.
USC coach Kevin O'Neill said Wednesday after practice that the Trojans would have a similar game plan to the usual one: defending well and letting the offense flow from there. They did that successfully when Arizona State came into town in January, holding the Sun Devils to 37 points in a 47-37 win.
Only time will tell whether USC can do it again. We'll have a postgame report.
Notes: Yesterday, USC athletic director Mike Garrett began blogging on USCRipsIt. Today, he created a Twitter account. ... John Baxter has been officially announced as the Trojans' next special teams coordinator and associate head coach.