USC Preview

Prior to the season, if you told any ASU fan that on February 1 that the Sun Devils would be 14-6 overall with a 4-4 record in the Pac-10, very few would actually believe you. After a trying 8-22 season a year ago, the Sun Devils were predicted to struggle again but show signs of improvement. Few predicted a 14-2 start but it happened and now the expectations of the Sun Devil faithful have risen.

A four-game losing streak has been a difficult one for the team to stomach and the losses have been a dizzying array of different ways to lose. First, the Sun Devils started off on fire in Palo Alto but then fell apart in the second half to lose to Stanford. Then, they came out flat at home against Washington and lost convincingly to a team that they should have beaten. Then, a devastating one-point loss at home to Washington State and then the game everyone would like to forget, an 84-51 drubbing against UCLA.

Now, the Sun Devils must regroup and quickly forget the UCLA defeat and focus just on USC (13-7, 4-4) and ending their skid. The Trojans are led by the dynamic freshman duo of O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson and can range from as talented of a team that can go on the road and beat UCLA or play so erratically that they lose to tiny Mercer at home.

Head Coach Tim Floyd

Projected Starters

PG – Daniel Hackett
SG – Dwight Lewis
SF – O.J. Mayo
PF – Taj Gibson
C – Davon Jefferson

Impact Reserves

G – Angelo Johnson
F – Keith Wilkinson
C – RouSean Cromwell


For some reason, maybe it's the football thing or maybe it's because they are clearly jealous of our superior use of the color scheme but aside from the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California brings out the most intensity and aggression in the Sun Devils. Many remember last season when ASU won their first Pac-10 game against the ranked Trojans at Wells Fargo Arena and it's safe to say that Tim Floyd and the Trojans haven't forgotten that either.


In their loss to Arizona, Point Guard Daniel Hackett left the game with a hip pointer and didn't finish the game. He is listed as day-to-day and is expected to play. Hackett is the unsung hero for USC as he has been a steady force on both ends of the floor and has done well in spreading the wealth and also shooting the rock.
Starting alongside Hackett in the backcourt is Dwight Lewis. Lewis is a dangerous slasher that can get hot at any moment. Off the bench for the Trojans will be Angelo Johnson who has been a steady contributor all season long.

For the Sun Devils, Jamelle McMillan and Ty Abbott will get the starting nods with Derek Glasser and Christian Polk backing them up. Hackett and Lewis are much like McMillan and Abbott in that they are extremely talented but also can be inconsistent. Hackett has really surged lately but Lewis and Johnson could be prone to cold shooting and turnovers.

Slight Edge – USC


The hype that has surrounded O.J. Mayo for just under a decade has been a little absurd but he has really shined in his inaugural college campaign and is one of the best scorers in the country. Big man Taj Gibson has been a consistent force down low all season averaging nearly a double-double and is an intimidating shot blocking presence.

Countering for ASU will be James Harden and Jerren Shipp. Harden, the Sun Devils leading scorer and most dangerous threat every possession, will be counted on heavily to help end the skid. The matchup between Mayo and Harden will be fun to watch and if Harden can forget his rough performance against UCLA (9 points) and mix up his game between driving to the bucket at will and hitting shots on the perimeter, ASU will be in great shape. If Harden can't get it rolling and Mayo gets his normal allotment of points and Gibson overpowers the Shipp/Atuahene combo, then USC will coast to victory.

Solid Edge – USC


While Davon Jefferson is one of the nation's elite freshmen and will be a great NBA player, I have a gut feeling that Jeff Pendergraph will lift the Sun Devils on his shoulders and try to muscle his way to an ASU victory.

Slight Edge – ASU

Final Score – USC 71 ASU 64

Sun Devil Source Top Stories