#22 USC (6-1) vs. #4 Kansas (6-0) - Game Preview
When: Sunday, Dec. 2nd @ 11:00 AM (PST)
Where: Galen Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Watch: FSN Prime Ticket
A part of me feels really good about this game and another part tells me that this is Kansas and they deserve a lot of respect. The Jayhawks are unquestionably one of the best teams in the nation. Up front they have a talented player in Darrell Arthur, a 6-9 230lb Soph., who is long and very athletic; he might not be a dominating low-post presence yet, but he's the type of player that can put our big men in foul trouble early. On the wing you have Brandon Rush, the star player and match-up nightmare; he is coming off ACL surgery, which prevented him from entering the NBA draft this year, but judging from the Kansas/Arizona game, it seems like he's back on track. The Jayhawks backcourt is the backbone of this team and will set the tempo for the game. At PG you have Russell Robinson, a steady Senior who plays the floor general role and tough defense, much like a former SC hoops star by the name of Brandon Granville, who was honored at the Oklahoma game on Thursday. Opposite of Russell you have Mario Chalmers, a two-guard that can also play the one, and is a deadly shooter. Chalmers really hurt us in last year's game and will likely be a major determining factor tomorrow, if we decide to pay extra attention on Arthur and Rush.
So how will we approach this game? I think this game will be a backcourt battle between Hackett/Mayo/Lewis and Robinson/Chalmers/Rush. If our guards can handle the on-the-ball pressure, then I like us pulling off the upset. O.J. will likely be guarded by former Trojan Lodrick Stewart, which puts Chalmers and Robinson on Hackett and Lewis. I'd like to see some ISO plays for Dwight to allow him to use his height against the two Jayhawk guards; I can see DL having another quiet yet strong game. As for O.J., he's due for a monster performance, and it seems like he's putting his inside/outside game together, but I'm not going to make a prediction. Our team is young, but we match up well with Kansas, and right now, we've played the tougher schedule so that might be a factor. Kansas is a well-coached and confident squad that knows how to respond in tough environments, so look for this game to be close. Based on match-ups and the expected raucous crowd, I like SC to pull off the upset.
Prediction: W by 4