Mar 9, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Lonzo Ball (2) and USC Trojans guard De’Anthony Melton (22) compete for the ball during the second half during the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at T-Mobile Arena. UCLA won 76-74. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports. Photo courtesy of lasportshub.com
A SOCAL CROSSTOWN RIVALRY RENEWED ON THE HARD COURT – FOR BOTH THE MEN AND THE WOMEN
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES (UCLA) BRUINS vs UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) TROJANS – BASKETBALL
- Saturday, February 3rd at Pauley Pavilion, 3:00 p.m.
- Saturday, March 3rd at Galen Center, 7:15 p.m.
- Friday, February 2nd at Pauley Pavilion, 8:00 p.m.
- Monday, February 5th at Galen Center, 6:00 p.m.
Men: UCLA leads 140-109
Women: USC leads 48-44
MOST RECENT CROSSTOWN RIVALRY BASKETBALL GAMES
Men: UCLA beat USC, 76-74, on March 9, 2017 in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, NV
Women: UCLA beat USC, 71-67, on January 22, 2017 at Pauley Pavilion
RECORDS and STATISTICS
UCLA BRUINS (Men)
Record: 15-7, 6-4 and 4th place in the Pac-12 Conference
Streak: Won last two
Last Game: Beat Stanford, 89-73, on January 28th in Pauley Pavilion
Aaron Holiday, G – 19.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.3 apg
Kris Wilkes, G – 13.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Thomas Welsh, C – 12.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg (*2nd in the Pac-12)
Jaylen Hands, G – 11.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.1 apg
Highlights from the last time the Bruins and Trojans met in men’s basketball – a 76-74 win for UCLA, knocking USC out of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on March 9th, 2017. Courtesy of YouTube.
UCLA BRUINS (Women)
Record: 17-4, 8-2 and 2nd place in the Pac-12 Conference
National Rank: Ninth (Both the AP & Coaches polls)
Streak: Won last six
Last Game: Beat Washington State, 79-71, on January 28th in Pullman, WA
Jordin Canada, PG – 15.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.3 apg (*3rd in Pac-12)
Monique Billings, F – 14.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg (*Leads Pac-12)
Kennedy Burke, G – 10.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Lajahna Drummer, F – 6.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg
USC TROJANS (Men)
Record: 17-6, 8-2 and 2nd place in the Pac-12 Conference
Streak: Won last six
Last Game: Beat California, 77-59, at the Galen Center on January 28th
Chimeze Metu, F – 16.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Bennie Boatwright, F – 15.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Jordan McLaughlin, PG – 12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.7 apg (*Leads Pac-12)
Elijah Stewart, G – 11.0 ppg
USC TROJANS (Women)
Record: 15-6, 5-5 and 7th place in the Pac-12 Conference
Streak: Won last two
Last Game: Beat Washington, 72-61, in Seattle on January 28th
Kristen Simon, F – 17.9 ppg (*3rd in Pac-12), 8.7 rpg
Aliyah Mazyck, G – 16.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Minyon Moore, PG – 13.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.1 apg
Sadie Edwards, G – 13.9 ppg
Former UCLA guard Kari Korver taking the ball against a USC defender. Photo courtesy of uclabruins.com
COMMENTS, THOUGHTS AND PREDICTIONS
I’ll chat about the ladies first, since their two games against each other will happen within a 72-hour period.
Remember how I criticized the Women of Troy’s undefeated record in December the previous time I wrote about college basketball, how I was very unimpressed due to them playing (relatively) lesser opponents and avoiding the big girls like Connecticut and Baylor, unlike their lady Bruin rivals?
Based on their 5-5 mark in the conference, I dare say I was proven right – at least to this point.
Sure, they won their last two contests on the road, but that was against a pair of Washington schools that are at or near the bottom of the league, Washington being tied for last place with Arizona while Washington State is barely above them.
In other words, to convince me that those Trojans are truly legit, they are going to have to sweep their crosstown rivals.
NOTE TO THE USC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM:
A .500 record in the Pac-12 after beating up on a bunch of (relative) non-conference Little Sisters of the Poor – which you had to scramble to get by sweeping two bad teams – does not convince me of your legitimacy, Women of Troy.
Dec 30, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans forward Temi Fagbenle (41), UCLA Bruins forward Monique Billings (25) and guard Nirra Fields (21) look for a rebound in the second half of the game at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA won 78-73. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Photo courtesy of gojoebruin.com
And speaking of the Lady Bruins, they are right about where I saw them a few months ago.
Due to them losing to seventh-ranked and Pac-12 leading Oregon at home a few weeks ago, I don’t really see them as being as big a Final Four contender as I did in December, but I still think they have a real shot at winning the Pac-12, particularly the conference tournament.
And if they get a favorable draw in the NCAA’s Big Dance, who knows?
Which is why my official prediction for the two games pitting ‘SC and my alma mater UCLA is…
A Bruin sweep.
Though USC will certainly come out hard in both games, especially at Galen Center on the 5th.
I think both games will be relatively close; UCLA won’t blow USC out, but I do see the Bruins winning by between five and ten points.
Highlights from the last time UCLA and USC met in women’s basketball – a 71-67 win for the Lady Bruins on January 22nd, 2017. Courtesy of YouTube.
As For The Men:
Before UCLA enacted their revenge on Stanford for taking away a late double-digit lead on them in Palo Alto, beating the Cardinal comfortably at home last Saturday,
I told a friend that I was not looking forward to those Bruins playing what is a hot USC team, a Trojan squad that has won six straight games and is on an absolute roll.
Considering the extremely inconsistent play that my alma mater has exuded this year to date, beating basketball blue-blood Kentucky but then losing to the Oregon schools – and not looking very good while doing so,
As well as blowing several other games such as against Michigan, leaving them with a record that should be a lot better than 15-7; personally, I think the Bruins should be 18-4 or 19-3, and would have that record if not for their sometimes poor play,
Until that win over Stanford, where they played perhaps their best game of the year after having to come back from 13 points down to beat a last-place, worst-in-the-conference Cal squad, I was convinced that the Trojans would have their way with their Bruin rivals in a sweep, with the “Trojan Family” chanting,
“Just like football!”
Due to UCLA showing how good they could be in that last outing on the 28th, my feelings pertaining to their chances in the Crosstown Rivalry are a little different now.
If those Bruins can play the way they did against Stanford – and Kentucky earlier this season – I see their chances of beating ‘SC in Pauley this Saturday as pretty good.
That home game is an absolutely crucial one to win, because I honestly don’t think they’ll beat the Trojans at Galen Center; that place will be filled (one of only two times that place is full for basketball games, the other time being when Arizona is the opponent) with a USC fan base whose hostility will be a 15 on a scale of one to ten.
As such, I predict…
A split in the two men’s Crosstown Rivalry games, the Bruins and the Trojans each winning on their home court.
I’m especially looking forward to seeing how that men’s basketball team of my alma mater’s will come out at the start of this Saturday’s clash in particular.
If their attitude and mind-set is anything like their football brothers was at the Coliseum, I’ll have a good feeling about their chances.
But if their attitude and mind-set isn’t there…
USC guard Jordan McLaughlin dribbling the ball up the court against UCLA’s Bryce Alford in a game at Galen Center last season. Photo courtesy of sportschatplace.com