NCAA Pac-10 Preview: USC Trojans and Cal Golden Bears Play Rubber Match

Steve AugerAnalyst IIMarch 12, 2009

USC Trojans (18-12, 9-9) vs. California Golden Bears (22-9, 11-7)


Thursday, March 12, 2009 – 6:00 PM PST


The third quarter final game of the Pac-10 tournament features the No. 6 seed USC Trojans against the No. 3 seed California Golden Bears.


These two teams split the season series with each winning on its home court.


USC was a 73-62 winner at the end of January and Cal turned the tables on the Trojans, 81-78, a month later.


In the first game, Cal only connected on 40.7 percent of their shots. They were a dreadful 2-of-16 from three-point land.


The Trojans would’ve won by a very comfortable margin if they shot better than 58.6 percent from the free throw stripe.


USC had four players reach double figures led by DeMar DeRozan’s 19.


Taj Gibson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards while Dwight Lewis also scored 12.  Daniel Hackett finished with 14 points.


For the Bears, Jamal Boykin scored 18 to go along with 10 boards.


Jordan Wilkes just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Jerome Randle finished with 12 points and five dimes.


The second contest went to overtime before Cal emerged victorious.


Once again, the Trojans cost themselves at the free throw line converting only 57.1 percent. In such a close game, a few more free throws would’ve earned USC the road win.


Patrick Christopher had the huge game for Cal with 29 points.


Randle had 15 points and eight assists while Theo Robertson finished with 10 points.


Hackett led USC with 26 points while Gibson was right behind him with 21 points and 12 boards.


Lewis and DeRozan both finished with 10 points.



Current line: California -1.5


USC is 12-13 against the spread with a record of 4-5 as an underdog.


Cal is 14-11-1 against the spread with a record of 7-5 as the favorite.


Expect a close game between these two schools. But with the tournament being played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Trojans will have a home court advantage.


Steve’s pick: USC +1.5