USC Preview

The oh-two-oh-three version of the USC Trojans bears little resemblance to last year's juggernaut that swept the Cardinal in dominating fashion. But a squad starting the Craven twins and Desmon Farmer could do plenty of damage in Maples Saturday. For a look at the Trojans and the keys to this game, look no further!

USC @ Stanford  1/25/03
Tip-off: 3:00 pm (PST)
TV: Fox Sports Net

Henry Bibby's USC Trojans come to Maples to take on the Cardinal. The Trojans are much like the Cardinal in that they lost three key players from last year's team and are young. They have struggled at times but have played very well 4 out of their last 5 games. Sophomore point guard Brandon Brooks is out for the year with a dislocated left ankle and Senior Robert Hutchinson is hobbled with a bad ankle.

The Trojans are perhaps the toughest team for Stanford to prepare for. Not only is their defense tough and aggressive they run plays off of 19 different sets. The Trojans weren't a picnic last year and Saturday will be no walk in the park either. On Defense USC will pressure Stanford all over the court. They will over play passing lanes. The will play very physical on the perimeter and dare the officials to call fouls. USC will trap and play both a match up zone and man-to-man defense. The Trojans average 8.1 steals a game this year (1 less than last year) and force 19 turnovers a game. There as been little drop off in their defensive intensity.

On Offense USC runs a NBA Style offense. They look for a way to take advantage of individual match ups and run isolation plays to your weak spots or where they think they have the advantage. The sets you see vs. Cal or UCLA may be different than the ones you see vs. Stanford. The full court pressure catches everyone's eye, but the key match-up may be the two down low.

Rory O'Neil is their big man at 6-11 240. His strength is from 7 to 15 feet out. Rob Little normally gets the assignment but he isn't as quick as O'Neil and could get burnt on isolation plays. Undersized Nick Robinson or Josh Childress could get the assignment of O'Neil. Nick Curtis is a 6-8 220 pound bruiser underneath. This is a much better match-up for Little. Joe Kirchofer and Matt Haryasz must come to play, be physical and contribute. Little won't be able to control the post alone.

Like most USC teams, this one likes to shoot the three. They are shooting 36.6 % from the arch and are looking to break the school record (37.8%). The backcourt can create their own shots off triple threat and are very athletic. I would like to see Stanford have Childress, Julius Barnes and Jason Haas all on the floor at the same time. That combination would seem to match up well vs. the Trojans.

It could be a very long afternoon for the Cardinal. Stanford will need to take care of the ball, play sound fundamental defense, screen out and slow down USC's transition game. This will be a great challenge. This season has shown us that the Cardinal is up to most challenges.

Probable Starters

Pos No Name           Ht   Wt  Yr Pts  Reb Ast

G   24 Derrick Craven 6-2  200 So 2.8  2.1 1.8

G   33 Desmon Farmer  6-4  225 Jr 17.0 4.5 1.4

G   22 Errick Craven  6-2  190 So 13.9 5.2 1.8

F    2 Nick Curtis    6-8  220 So 10.1 8.0 1.6

C   21 Rory O'Neil    6-10 240 So 9.8  4.9 0.6

Reserves

Pos No Name              Ht   Wt  Yr Pts Reb Ast

G    1 Roy Smiley        6-4  195 Jr 8.8 2.8 1.3

G    4 Robert Hutchinson 6-1  185 Sr 6.1 1.0 3.2

F    5 Gregg Guenther    6-8  245 So 5.0 3.0 0

C   10 Jonathan Oliver   7-0  230 Jr 3.5 2.3 1.1

C   15 Kostas Charissis  6-11 260 Sr 3.3 4.5 0.7

F   31 Jerry Dupree      6-7  200 Jr 2.5 1.3 0.2


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