Hoops Preview - USC

SEATTLE - Now sitting atop of the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Washington can't let up their guard against the USC Trojans, who they host on Saturday night. The tip time is set for 8 p.m. PT at Alaska Airlines Arena, and it will be aired by Fox Sports Northwest.

The Trojans (1-9, 6-17) haven't had much success this year. The Trojans six wins have come against Cal State-Northridge, Morgan State, South Carolina, UC Riverside, TCU and Utah.

Kevin O'Neill, who has been at USC since 2009, has turned over the reins of his team to sophomore Maurice Jones. The diminutive 5-foot-7 point guard is a dynamic player that can drive to the hole faster than any player in the conference. This season, the Saginaw, Mich. native is averaging 14.5 points on 35 percent shooting. He also contributes 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals a game in his second year as a starter. Nationally, he is No. 2 in minutes per game at 38.3, but only averages 1.6 fouls.

With DeWayne Dedmon, Aaron Fuller and three others out with season-ending injuries, the Trojans not only don't have many secondary scoring threats, but they only have six scholarship players healthy.

With extra playing time readily available, Byron Wesley will be in line to pick up the slack. A 6-foot-5 freshman guard, Wesley is averaging 7.6 points a game on 40 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds. However, in the last four games, he has averaged 12 points and 5.25 rebounds.

Also seeing a big improvement in minutes is sophomore forward Garrett Jackson. The Portland, Ore. native is averaging 5.7 points on 44 percent shooting and 2.6 rebounds. Jackson has put up nearly 13 points per game his last four.

Rounding out the other three scholarship players are Greg Allen, Alexis Moore and James Blasczyk. Walk-on guard Eric Strangis will see time as the seventh man off of the bench, as will Daniel Munoz.

With a decimated roster, USC doesn't do many things well, but is No. 11 in the country in field goal point percentage at 61, No. 7 in steals allowed (4.7) and No. 11 in points per game allowed (58.2).

Historically, Washington is trailing USC in the all-time series 66-68. Despite leading the home series at 37-30, Washington is just 1-3 in their last four against the Trojans in Seattle, so they need to come out with all guns blazing. Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar is 11-7 against USC, but 4-6 in his last 10.


Dawgman.com Top Stories