#22 USC (9-4) vs. #24 Stanford (11-2) - Game Preview
When: Saturday, Jan. 5th @ 5:00 PM (PST)
Where: Maples Pavilion (Palo Alto, CA)
Watch: FSN Prime Ticket
The last time the SC basketball team visited Maples Pavilion they were literally swatted out of the gym by the Lopez brothers, who accounted for an astounding 15 blocks. With our small starting line-up, the twin duo will once again be the central focus of our defensive game plan. Last year at GC, we saw RouSean Cromwell step up and play active defense against Brook Lopez; one of our big bodies will need to duplicate that performance to give SC a chance in this game.
Apart from the obvious mismatch in the frontcourt, the player that really concerns me is forward Lawrence Hill, who had big games in both meetings last season. He's a heady player that can play inside and outside and create mismatch problems. I want to believe that Davon can contain him with his athleticism, but I can also see Lawrence frustrating Davon with solid fundamental basketball. I always try to peg a prediction on how well we defend a key player, and I believe Lawrence will be that player in this game. If he goes 20+, I see us coming out with a loss.
When you look at Stanford you don't see any extraordinarily athletic players, but they are disciplined and play solid team ball. We've seen SC break down two fundamentally dependent teams in Miami (Ohio) and Southern Illinois this season, so this bodes well for the Trojans, but obviously Stanford is on another level compared to those two teams so nothing can be said definitively. My hope early in the week was that we come out of this road trip with a split and my gut tells me that we have a solid chance of escaping Maples with a victory, but the reality is this team lacks experience and is coming off a tough loss, and that has me a bit sobered so this is really a toss up game for me. I'm going with Stanford in a close one based on HC advantage.
Prediction: L by 3