Saturday, March 14, 2009



WHEN/WHERE: 3:15 p.m. today, Staples Center


(DeMar DeRozan, right, shoots against Arizona State's Rihards Kuksiks. DeRozan has been the best player in the NCAA Tournament and is a projected top 10 pick if he departs for the NBA.) Associated Press

USC (20-12, 11-9 Pac-10)

Trojans starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Daniel Hackett(Jr.) 12.3 4.2 4.8
G Dwight Lewis (Jr.) 14.1 3.2 2.1
G DeMar DeRozan(Fr.) 13.3 5.8 1.3
G Marcus Simmons(So.) 2.1 1.4 0.4
F Taj Gibson (Jr.) 14.6 9.5 1.2

ARIZONA STATE (24-8, 13-7)

Sun Devils starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Derek Glasser (Jr.) 8.3 2.0 4.8
G Ty Abbott (S0.) 6.6 4.1 1.7
G James Harden (S0.) 21.1 5.6 4.1
F Rihards Kuksiks (So.) 10.3 3.9 1.5
C Jeff Pendergraph (Sr.) 14.4 8.5 0.9

WHAT TO KNOW: The game will gain major national attention, especially from those bubble teams such as Florida, Arizona, St. Mary's Kentucky and Creighton because if the Trojans win, they are taking someone else's tourney slot. There is little chance USC would reach the NCAA with 13 losses if they drop today's game but they would have to be considered the prohibitive favorite considering they haven't trailed in the two wins over Cal and UCLA. ... USC is getting exceptional contributions from DeRozan, Gibson and Lewis, whose big shots in the first half allowed USC to take a sizable early lead and then hold off the Bruins in the second half. Gibson has produced 34 points and 27 rebounds in the two games and his matchup with Pendergraph will be one of the game's highlights. ... The Sun Devils took a 21-point lead against No. 1 seed Washington and held on behind a spunky performance from Glasser, a surprising contribution from Abbott and a typical Harden effort. An ASU win could mean a fourth seed and a better first-round NCAA matchup and the Sun Devils have also never won a Pac-10 Tournament.

WHO TO WATCH: DeRozan has realized that the Pac-10 Tournament is littered with NBA scouts and he has shined, tallying 38 points and 21 rebounds in the previous two tournament games, including a furious dunk on UCLA Nikola Dragovic that set the tone for the game. If he is on and matches Harden, USC could be headed to the NCAA Tournament.

HEAD TO HEAD: This is the third meeting between the two clubs and each team won at home. DeRozan scored 22 points and Lewis added 18 as USC cruised to a 61-49 win on Jan. 15 at Galen Center. Glasser scored 18 and USC coach Tim Floyd was ejected in the final minutes as Arizona State won 65-53 on Feb. 15 in Tempe.

(Floyd gets ejected for arguing a charge call against Hackett) Associated Press

WASHBURN'S PICK: The Trojans are headed dancing, using the momentum from the previous two wins to edge the Sun Devils 75-72.

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