USC: Kyryl Natyazhko

USC-Arizona: Playing for a tournament bid

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
1:18
PM PT
Here are five questions -- well, four, plus a prediction -- that will go a long way toward deciding today's 6:10 p.m. game against Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament:

1. Arizona can run. Can USC keep up one day after a game?

Listen to Trojans coach Kevin O'Neill: "Arizona is a very high energy, high level, high intensity team that's extremely well coached. It has one of the best players in the league as their center piece. So we know that if we don't control tempo and let them play at their pace, we'll have problems.
"We're talking about a legitimate top 10 or 12 team that shoots the ball better from three than anybody. You know, we just know we were fortunate the last game to win."

That's not the type of team you'd pick to play for your first back-to-back game this season, but that's who USC's got on the schedule, and the Trojans will attempt to beat the running-and-gunning Wildcats at the Staples Center on Friday to earn a trip to the finals of the Pac-10 tournament.

The two teams split their season series, each squad winning on its home court. Arizona's a team with a number of talented swingmen, which naturally presents quite a few challenges for a short-handed and small USC team, but there is a blueprint to beating this team, which we'll get into later.

USC is focused on bringing up its play another notch, though, from its 70-56 win over Cal Thursday in the Pac-10 quarterfinals.

"Arizona’s a great team," senior forward Alex Stepheson said. "I think we gotta take it up to another level and just try to be aggressive -- that’s the key."


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2014 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
C. Kessler452315382639
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
J. Allen27614895.411
J. Davis1295954.64
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
N. Agholor104131312.612
J. Smith5472413.45
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense158.2294.6452.8
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring35.123.811.3