Before the tourney opener, Trojans minimize perceptions of Pac-12 vs. Big Ten
Andy Enfield, USC basketball coach, has often noted -- or made light of -- that a large portion of the country is already asleep when many Trojans games tipoff on the West Coast. Friday's challenge is slightly different.
Friday's challenge is different. He must make sure his team is fully alert for the No. The 10-seed Trojans will open NCAA tournament play at 9:15 a. m. PST (12:15 p. m. GMT) vs. the No.7 Michigan State in Columbus (on CBS).
"I told our players there were no excuses. Although it may feel like 9 AM, we are in March Madness. Enfield stated Thursday that you need to be mentally prepared to play and compete at the highest level.
"We arrived here Tuesday, which was a big day for us. To adjust and prepare, we arrived here a few days earlier than usual for a trip. Drew Peterson, a veteran guard, said that they know how important it is to have experience from last year with a few players on the team. He was referring to USC's tournament trip last year to Greenville, S. C."...
Enfield admitted that someone had reminded them when they landed Tuesday night at Columbus that this was going to be a normal trip."It's a longer flight and colder weather, but that's not something we've considered yet."
The media in Columbus wanted two themes to ask Enfield, Peterson, and senior guard Boogie Ellis Thursday: the time zone effects, and the perception that the Pac-12 (a la Michigan State (19-12)) play drastically different styles of basketball.
"I don’t know the Big Ten’s style. He said that he believes it's a basketball game once you get on the court."... We don't care about what other styles are at other conferences. We are only concerned with USC and how we can win games. My opinion is that players change each year. Our style of play also changes. We try to adapt to our strengths so this year's style of play may be different than last year's.
"We watched a lot films on them. They are a great shooting team."We just have to play our game and not change anything, just adjust to taking away the 3-point shots," Ellis said. They play very similar to Arizona but have more guard play and a few bigs.
"Tyson Walker is an elite scorer. Enfield stated that Walker can shoot with range, is quick, and is a great player. However, they also have many other players who complement his abilities."
Joey Hauser, a veteran forward, is 6-foot-9. He averages 14.2 points per game and 6.9 rebounds. But Hauser also works a lot from the perimeter. He shoots a team-best 45.6% from the 3-point range (68 out of 149).
Enfield pointed out that his team is at its best when it has a four-guard line with Ellis leading the charge. Ellis averages 18 points per game and has been a dominant player in the past seven games, scoring 24.3 PPG.
Izzo stated, "I'm telling ya, they have a defense that's as good or better than any guard we faced in Boogie Ellis this year."Peterson is another one that's a mismatch at 6-9, possibly one of the best passers I have seen. We will have to contain Ellis, and not many people have. He's a first-team All-Pac-12. He's made it possible for them to do what they do. We'll see what they can do."sport