USC Basketball: Stanford pregame

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Greetings and salutations!

Coming to you from Palo Alto, where this reporter has a sneaky suspicion the Stanford band may have a little fun with USC tonight, probably pointing out something in regards to the recently self-imposed sanctions that axed USC’s chances of a postseason.

Look, this Stanford band is wild, witty and known for its shenanigans.

Plus it punked USC once already this season -- Joe Francis, anyone?

But aside from unruly band members wielding tubas and trumpets, here are some pre-game facts and stats to hold you over until tip-off at 7 p.m. (radio broadcast on 830 and 1260):


USC player to watch: Senior guard Dwight Lewis

In USC’s first Pacific 10 Conference road game, expect Lewis to get a lot of touches since the Trojans aren’t exactly a veteran squad. Lewis, averaging 12.1 points, scored just six against Arizona State on three-of-10 shooting, so he’s probably going to come out firing to get his confidence back.

Stanford player to watch: senior guard/forward Landry Fields

Fields ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring (23.2) and rebounding (9.0), but in seven career games against USC, Fields has averaged just seven points. He’s the focal point of Stanford’s offense, and tonight USC will try to limit his touches to make the other Cardinal players beat them.

Interesting note on Fields: He has produced nine consecutive 20-point games, the only Stanford player since at least 1960 to do so.

Key to the game: Whether USC’s defense can hold Fields and Jeremy Green to single digits.

Fields and Green, who averages 16.7 points, make up the bulk of Stanford’s offense, and USC Coach Kevin O’Neill said both players can play at the next level. He has made it clear he wants his defense, which ranks first in the nation in scoring defense (54.5 points per game), to shut them down. If the Trojans can, they’ll win.

Couple notes:

- USC has lost seven straight games at Maples Pavilion

- USC guard Korri Ennis has been determined eligible for competition by the NCAA Clearinghouse and will be in uniform for the first time tonight. Ennis, a 6-foot, 180-pound redshirt sophomore, played collegiality at UC Riverside as a freshman in 2007 before transferring to Florida A&M where he did not compete. He transferred to USC last year and played on the scout team which practiced against the USC women’s team. He earned a spot on USC men’s basketball team at the open trying held on Oct. 17.

-Baxter Holmes