March 2, 2007
SATURDAY: The No. 13 Associated Press/ESPN/USA Today Washington State Cougars host No. 23/24 USC (March 3 at 4 p.m.)...game will be on FSN Northwest, FSN Prime Ticket and FSN Bay Area in California.
WHAT IS ON THE LINE: If Washington State defeats USC, the Cougars will finish alone in second place in the Pacific-10...if the Trojans wins, the teams will tie for second and USC will earn the No. 2 seed in next week's conference tournament because of a better record against Oregon (2-0) than WSU (0-2)...Cougars are assured of their best conference finish since 1982-83 when they were second to UCLA.
PACIFIC-10 TOURAMENT OPPONENT: If Washington State wins Saturday and earns the No. 2 seed in the Pacific-10 Tournament, the Cougars will play in the 8:50 p.m. quarterfinal, Thursday, March 8...opponent will be the survivor of March 7 first round game between No. 7 seed Washington and No. 10 seed Arizona State...if the Cougars lose to the Trojans and are the No. 3 seed, WSU will play in the 6:20 p.m. quarterfinal, March 8...the opponent will not be determined until Saturday...possibilities are Oregon or the loser of Saturday's Arizona vs. Stanford match-up.
COUGAR HEAD COACH Tony Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Tony Bennett is in his first season at the helm of the Cougar program...fourth year with WSU...assistant coach in 2003-04...associate head coach in 2004-05 and 2005-06...assistant coach at Wisconsin from 2000-03...became the first head coach at a current Pacific-10 institution to start 7-0 in his inaugural campaign at the school since Stanford's Robert W. Burnett was 9-0 in 1951-52...Bennett's accomplishment is tied for the third best start in a debut season at Pacific-10 school in the post-World War II era.
ABOUT USC: The Trojans are 21-9 overall, 11-6 in Pac-10 play...ranked in both the Associated Press (23rd) and the ESPN/USA Today (24th) polls...coming off 85-70 loss at Washington...Nick Young is second in the Pac-10 with 17.5 points per game and 45.5 percent 3-point shooting...Taj Gibson leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (57.9)....Trojans lead the Pac-10 in 3-point field goal shooting (39.5 percent), field goal percentage defense (38.3) and 3-pointe field goal percentage defense (30.8).
SERIES WITH THE TROJANS: USC leads the series 63-38...WSU leads 25-22 at home and has won five of the last six overall...Kyle Weaver's shot with 4.2 seconds left gave WSU a 56-55 lead and a pair of Robbie Cowgill free throws for a 58-55 Cougar win in Los Angles, Dec. 30...Trojans led 38-27 with 12:48 to play...a 9-0 Cougar run put WSU up 50-46 at the 4:30 mark...USC regained the lead at 55-54 with Lodrick Stewart, Taj Gibson and Gabe Pruitt each chipping in three points during a 9-4 spurt prior to Weaver's game-winning shot...Derrick Low tallied a team-high 13 points while Weaver and Cowgill each added a dozen points.