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March 5, 2011Matchup: USC Trojans (17-13, 9-8) vs. Washington Huskies (20-9, 11-6)
Tip: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle
TV, radio: Saturday's game will be nationally televised on FSN with Barry Tompkins and Marques Johnson on the call. The game can be also heard on the radio on KJR 950-AM.
Coaches: Lorenzo Romar, Washington (ninth year); Kevin O'Neill, USC (third year).
Series: USC leads the all-time series 67-66, but the Huskies won the earlier matchup this season against USC on the road, 73-67, in overtime.
About the Huskies: Saturday night marks the last home game for three Husky seniors, Venoy Overton, Justin Holiday, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. This group of seniors was very successful in their careers at Washington, holding a record of 88-45 during their tenure. It will be an emotional farewell on Saturday night as the Dawg Pack and the rest of the Huskies fans say their goodbyes. Besides being senior night, this game has strong implications for the rest of the Huskies' season. UW is coming off of an impressive win at home against UCLA on Thursday night, where C.J. Wilcox led the way with 24 points in the second half. The Huskies now stand only one game back of the Bruins for second place in the conference heading into their matchup against USC. The Trojans gave the Huskies a tough game earlier this season, forcing a grind-it-out overtime win for UW on the road. The Huskies will have their hands full trying to send their seniors out on a winning note against the Trojans.
About the Trojans: USC has had a bit of a disappointing season. The Trojans will have to win the Pac-10 tournament if they want to make it to the Big Dance. USC is coming off an 85-77 loss to Washington State on Thursday night in Pullman, but the Trojans have been playing some great basketball as of late. The Trojans are led in scoring by Nikola Vucevic, who averages 17.6 points per game. Vucevic was voted last week's Pac-10 player of the week as the Trojans were able to knock off Arizona, the conference's top team. The Trojans' main weapon is their tough defense. Their style reflects a desire to play at a slow, calculated pace. The Huskies had difficulty adjusting to this style in the last matchup with the Trojans as they were unable to get out and run in transition, which is one of the main strengths of the team. If the Trojans can dictate the pace, it may be a long night for the Huskies on senior night.
Projected starters for Washington:
G Isaiah Thomas 5-9 185 Jr. Tacoma, Wash. 16.6 ppg, 5.7 apg
GVenoy Overton 6-0 185 Sr. Seattle, Wash. 5.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg
C Aziz N'Diaye 7-0 260 So. Dakar, Senegal 5.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
F Justin Holiday 6-6 185 Sr. Chatsworth, Calif. 11.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg
F Matthew Bryan-Amaning 6-9 240 Sr. London, England 16.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Projected starters for USC:
G Marcus Simmons 6-6 220 Sr. Alexandria, La. 4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
GDonte Smith 5-11 180 Sr. Pomona, Calif. 10.0 ppg, 1.5 apg
GJio Fontan 6-0 175 Jr. Patterson, N.J. 10.0 ppg, 4.0 apg
FNikola Vucevic 6-10 260 Jr. Bar, Montenegro 17.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg
F Alex Stepheson 6-10 250 Sr. Los Angeles, Calif. 9.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg
UDubSports.com pick: Washington 65-61.
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