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Cal Men's Basketball vs. the USC Trojans Preview

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It's been a rough year for the USC Trojans.(6-18, 1-10 conference) Cue the world's smallest violin. Before the season got underway, leading scorer Jio Fontan blew out his ACL during an exhibition game. Then, second-leading scorer Aaron Fuller tore the labrum of his shoulder. And a week later, Dewayne Dedmon tore his MCL.

It's enough to drive a coach to drink.

But records and injury woes aside, I can't shake the recollection of 'sc taking us to the wire at Haas while their dimunitive PG, Maurice Jones, did his best Jerome Randle impression. The Trojans are going to crush someone's soul this year with an inexplicable upset - it just had better not be us. After the jump, more on personnel and matchups:

Projected Starters:

F Garrett Jackson(So), 6'6, 225 lbs, 6 ppg, 2.6 rpg
C James Blascyzk(Jr), 7'1, 260 lbs, 2.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G Greg Allen(Jr), 6'3, 180 lbs, 4.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg
G Byron Wesley(Fr), 6'5, 210 lbs, 7.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
G Maurice Jones(So), 5'7, 155 lbs, 14ppg, 3.4 apg

Bench:

(Crickets)

Overview:

Blascyzk is the very embodiment of "space-filler"...as in he really doesn't seem to do much but take up space. Garrett Jackson has put up modest numbers, but did have a break-out game against UW. Allen is a part-time starter pressed into fill-in duty. He does shoot a not-awful percentage from deep. (34.7%) Byron Wesley is starting to improve. He's not much of an outside threat (1/7 from three), but has good size as a slasher. Maurice Jones has been forced to carry the team. He's leading them in scoring, but has been turned into a volume shooter in order to get his points.


Keys:

1) Come out ready to play.

This is not a team to play down to. If nothing else, O'Neil's teams usually play a tough, physical game. Letting them think that they can hang around is a recipe for disaster, especially if Jones decides to go microwave on us.

2) Murray vs. Smith

It'll be interesting to see who gets the bulk of our back-up PG minutes. Last game, it was Murray who moved ahead of Smith. However, Smith is usually the better defender and this is one match-up where he actually isn't at a tremendous size disadvantage. Maurice Jones plays almost like an undersized two-guard, so Smith's defensive savvy might be indicated to stay with him on screens and movement without the ball.

3) Repeat the ASU Formula

Last game, we were able to rest our starters while giving extended minutes to several of our reserves. We absolutely need to develop our bench when we can if we're going to give ourselves the best chance for a nice stretch run.

Go Bears!

Tip-off: 7:30 pm

TV: None

Radio: 910 KNEW