USC (9-4) at UCLA (11-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 5, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pauley Pavilion (12,829) -- Los Angeles, California.
Television: FSI. Home Record: USC 7-0, UCLA 9-0. Away Record: USC 1-2, UCLA
0-1. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, UCLA 2-1. Conference Record: USC 0-0, UCLA 0-0.
Series Record: UCLA leads, 133-105.
GAME NOTES: A cross-town rivalry will be renewed on Sunday, as a pair of teams
that made splashy offseason hires will square off when the USC Trojans meet
the UCLA Bruins in a Pac-12 Conference showdown at Pauley Pavilion.
Andy Enfield, of Florida Gulf Coast fame, was brought in to head up the
Trojans this year and the results have been solid. USC is sporting a 9-4
record as it gets set to open up league play, although it is just 2-4 in away
and neutral-site battles. Still, the Trojans did not win nine games until Jan.
30 last season and had only six total victories the previous campaign.
Steve Alford's task was less daunting, as he took over a UCLA squad that was
coming off a 25-win season. Alford's Bruins have spent some time in the
national rankings and boast an 11-2 overall mark, including a 9-0 ledger at
home. Alford faces perhaps his biggest challenge to date next, as UCLA takes
on No. 1 Arizona this coming Thursday.
In a surprising twist, the road team was victorious in the two matchups
between these bitter rivals last season. USC won, 75-71, at Pauley Pavilion,
and UCLA picked up a 75-69 victory at the Galen Center. The Bruins have
claimed triumphs in five of the last six overall, and hold a 133-105 edge in
the all-time series.
Byron Wesley scored a game-high 20 points to lead USC to its ninth win last
Sunday, an 82-60 rout of Howard. The Trojans hit on 55.8 percent of their
shots from the floor, outscored the Bison from beyond the arc (21-9) and at
the free-throw line (17-7), while holding a 48-26 edge on the glass. If their
was a weak point it was in ball security, as USC committed 20 turnovers.
In the highly-efficient offensive conference that is the Pac-12, Enfield still
has some work to do with the Trojans. USC is ranked 10th in scoring (75 ppg)
and eighth in field goal percentage (.460). He has been able to coax greater
production on the glass from his roster, as USC leads the league in rebounds
(40.8 pg), ranking 24th nationally in the category as well. Wesley (17 ppg,
7.2 rpg) has been the player who has blossomed the most under the new head
coach, as he is scoring nearly seven points more per game than he did a year
ago, with 20-point efforts in three of the last four tilts. Pe'Shon Howard (11
ppg, 4.4 apg), J.T. Terrell (10.8 ppg) and Nikola Jovanovic (10 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
are also key contributors.
In their final non-league matchup of the season, the Bruins squared off with
Alabama. After a difficult first half that ended with UCLA trailing, 34-33,
the Bruins got their act together with a 50-percent shooting effort over the
final 20 minutes. Tony Parker scored 16 points off the bench to lead five
players in double figures.
The scoring issues that have hampered the Trojans have not been present for
the Bruins. UCLA is ranked among the top-15 in the country in scoring (85.5
ppg), assists (18.4 apg) and field goal percentage (.522). In fact, other than
Utah, no team in the nation is shooting at a more efficient rate than the
Bruins. Prolific scoring guard Jordan Adams (18.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.3 apg) leads
the way. However, Adams is much more than a scorer as he can rebound and leads
the conference in steals as well. Kyle Anderson (14.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 6.7 apg)
continues to be one of the most versatile players in the country, and Zach
LaVine (12.2 ppg) and Norman Powell (11.2 ppg) are other important pieces on a
It still seems like the Trojans have a ways to go before they are competing
with the Pac-12's elite. The Bruins are already there and should prove it in
securing a big win in their league opener.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 77, USC 67
01/05 10:47:41 ET
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