USC Preview

The Arizona State Sun Devils will cross Los Angeles to face the USC Trojans at the new Galen Center. Arizona State (6-12, 0-7) is coming off another game in which they faltered in the 2nd half, falling to UCLA. USC is riding high (14-5, 4-2) after an upset victory against 12th ranked Arizona.

In his second season as USC's head coach, Tim Floyd has found success in the Pac-10. After leading the team to a 17-13 record last season, he is on pace to take the Trojans to the tournament for the first time 2002. With most Trojan fans dreaming of next season, with the addition of heralded recruit O.J. Mayo, this team is only thinking about this season. After losing a teammate to a shooting over the summer, the team has shown that they will play for him all season long. USC has played with heart all year and are leading the Pac-10 in team defense.

The Sun Devils continue to come close, but have yet to get over the hump and get their first Pac-10 victory. Over the last three games, they have had solid first halves, followed by sub par second half displays. ASU has proved that there is no one in the Pac-10 they cannot hang with.

Head Coach Tim Floyd (274-148 overall, 21-15 Pac-10)

Projected Starters

G – Nick Young (17.1 PPG, 45% 3PT)
G – Lodrick Stewart (14.4 PPG, 45% FG)
G – Gabe Pruitt (9.8 PPG, 3.2 APG)
F – Daniel Hackett (5.4 PPG, 87% FT)
F – Taj Gibson (13.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG)

Key Reserves

C - Abdoulaye N'diaye
G- Kevin Galloway
G – Dwight Lewis


The USC Trojans are coming off an impressive home victory against Arizona. The Trojans have now knocked off four Top 25 opponents this season, including Washington, Wichita State, Oregon, and now Arizona. USC is one of the few teams in the country that plays without a "true" point guard. Then again, the way Nick Young and Lodrick Stuart have been playing at the guard positions, this becomes a trivial issue. This could potentially hurt the Trojans come tournament time, but when they only allow opponents to shoot 33% from the floor, there likely to find success often. Arizona State will need to hope that their shooting struggles in the second half do not continue, because they could be in for a long night against a defense such as Tim Floyd's.

The Trojans have height, but they lack size. They will rely on their quickness and athleticism to keep a Jeff Pendergraph type of player in check. The Sun Devils will have to feed the ball down low to Pendergraph and seniors Allen Morill and Serge Angounou to put some points on the board. Arizona State's guards will have a tough time defending and getting around the size of the USC defenders. If the Devils can hold the trio of guards: Stuart, Young, and Pruitt, to minimal production, they can pull off their first victory in conference play.


USC not only relies on their guards for points, but also minutes. Their guards lead the team in minutes and PPG. They run a three-guard set, utilizing their speed and athleticism. This unit is lead by junior Nick Young, who was better known last season around the country for his Mohawk. Young and senior Lodrick Stewart are very good from three-point range, both shooting over 40 percent beyond the arc. Junior Gabe Pruitt is coming off an early season injury and has been more productive every time he's on the floor. Junior Antwi Atuahene has continued to be fairly effective when he drives the lane, but still cannot find his shot from the outside. Freshman Derek Glasser has been a nice surprise and improved every game running the team. However, he needs to continue to shoot the ball and find the touch we saw he has from three-point range. The Sun Devils will have a hard time keeping up with these guards and will need to shoot the ball with great consistency if they want to stay with the Trojans.

Solid Edge - USC


With senior Serge Angounou struggling from the field, senior Allen Morill has stepped up and been a nice surprise, getting his first Pac-10 start in three years against UCLA. Freshman Taj Gibson is the team's leader in rebounds, but he is also leading the team in turnovers. USC starts yet another freshman in Daniel Hackett at the other forward position. Hackett has been used more as a role player and not been asked to do much scoring. If ASU can get some more production out of Angounou and Morill, they can somewhat neutralize the advantage the Trojans have at guard.

Slight Edge – USC


Considering the Trojans use their center only 16 minutes a game, sophomore Jeff Pendergraph should have a hay day down low. Pendergraph may be playing as good as any center in the country right now. The Trojans have one center listed on their roster, senior Abdoulaye N'diaye, and he hasn't been greatly productive. N'diaye only averages 5 PPG. If Pendergraph should have an easy time on defense against him.

Solid Edge – ASU

Final Score - USC 64 ASU 57

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