Scouting report: USC
Game info: 7 p.m. Sunday at Galen Center (10, 258 capacity).
TV: FSN/ROOT (Justin Kutcher, Marques Johnson and Steve Kerr).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Bob Cantu is 3-3 since taking over on an interim basis after USC fired Kevin O’Neill. Cantu has spent 12 years at USC. He was promoted to associated head coach by O’Neill in 2010. Cantu had been the longest tenured assistant in the Pac-12.
Prediction: Picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Washington and USC played their first game Feb. 26, 1925 and after 136 meetings, the series is tied 68-68. The Huskies are 28-38 on the Trojans’ home court and 3-3 at Galen Center. UW coach Lorenzo Romar is 13-7 against USC and 7-3 vs. the Trojans in Los Angeles.
Last meeting: Washington pounded USC on the glass, raced out to a 14-point halftime lead and cruised to an 80-58 victory on March 1, 2012 in front of 2,763 at the Galen Center. The Trojans closed to within nine points (49-40) early in the second half, but the Huskies pulled away behind 18 points from Terrence Ross.
Previous game: USC beat Washington State 72-68 on Thursday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Eric Wise (right) wasn’t the most heralded of USC’s six newcomers. He transferred from UC Irvine last year and sat out the 2011-12 season.
In his only season with the Trojans, the 6-6 senior wing has emerged as the team’s most consistent player.
Wise leads USC in scoring (12.3 points per game) and field goals (109). He’s second in rebounds (127), free throws made (45) and steals (20). He’s third in blocks (nine) and assists (41). He’s scored in double figures in 18 of 23 games.
Wise also has three double-double performances this season.
— J.T. Terrell starred at Peninsula JC last season and averaged 24.4 points. He began his college career at Wake Forest and averaged 11.1 points as a freshman. He played in 32 games and made 18 starts. Many expected the 6-3 junior guard to make a big immediate impact with USC, but he said he had a rocky relationship with O’Neill that hindered his production. Under Cantu, Terrell has been more consistent scoring. He notched a career high 22 points in Cantu’s debut and has scored in double figures in five of the past games. Terrell is third on USC averaging 10.3 points.
— In their last meeting, Byron Wesley scored a career-high 23 points against Washington. He made 10 of 18 shots and had five rebounds in 36 minutes against the Huskies. Rarely has Wesley been that good. He’s topped 20 points just three times in career, including last Thursday’s win over Washington State. In that game he had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting and eight rebounds. Wesley averages 10.4 points, which is second among the Trojans.
— USC is a team in transition. Barring a deep NCAA tournament run, Cantu isn’t likely to be retained and the Trojans will begin earnestly looking for its fifth coach in the past eight years.
— The Trojans are a strange team in terms of how the roster was constructed. O’Neill abandoned the classic model of building a team with recruits and filled the team with eight transfers. There’s six newcomers and five seniors. There’s 12 upperclassmen with 326 games of experience. USC has four returning starters and four first-year transfers and everybody believes they’re good enough to start.
— Five of the first six games under Cantu were decided by five points or less, with two of them going into overtime. Eleven of USC’s last 13 games have been decided by eight points or less.
— Senior guard Jio Fontan used to be the face of the Trojans. However, he missed last season with a knee injury and hasn’t been the dynamic leader that O’Neill believed him to be. Still, Fontan is a solid point guard who averages 9.5 points and 5.0 assists.
— Seven-foot center Dewayne Dedmon has at least one block in the past nine games. His career high is six. The Antelope Valley College transfer played 20 games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
— In the 10 conference games, USC has been called for 50 more fouls (203-153) than its opponent which has led to 41 more points (122-163).
— USC has registered 122 blocks this season and is on pace to finish with 164, which would be the third highest in the program’s history.
— In USC’s 13 losses this season, the opposition has made 95 of 232 three-pointers for a 40.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. In USC’s 10 wins, the opponents have made 28.0 percent of their three-point shots (49-for-175).
— Two-sport star Zach Banner, the former Lakes High standout, joined the basketball team Jan. 3. However, he hasn’t played in a game this season. The freshman forward redshirted in football where he was a highly-acclaimed offensive lineman prospect.
C – Dewayne Dedmon, 7-0, 255, Jr., 6.2 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 2.1 bpg.
F – Eric Wise, 6-6, 240, Sr., 12.3, 5.5, 49.8 FG%
G – Byron Wesley, 6-5, 210, So., 10.4, 4.6, 2.0 apg.
G – J.T. Terrell, 6-3, 185, Jr., 10.3, 1.8, 33.3 FG%
G – Jio Fontan, 6-0, 175, Sr., 9.5, 1.7, 5.0 apg.