USC, ASU get off to blazing start in Pac-10 competition
Through the first 10 games of the season, the USC Trojans were barely sliding by with a .500 record and many thought that Pacific 10 Conference play would be too demanding for head coach Henry Bibby's squad.
The Trojans, though, have since reeled off five wins in a row and jumped out to a 3-0 mark in conference play through the first two weeks.
After defeating in-city rival UCLA 91-79 Wednesday in the Los Angeles Sports Arena, USC ended a 10 game losing streak to the Bruins, while also moving one step closer to their first 4-0 start in league play since Arizona and Arizona State joined in 1978-79.
In order to garner that fourth straight win, the Trojans are going to have to defeat Arizona State tomorrow night, a team that has been just as hot as USC in the opening stages of Pac-10 play.
After losing the opening game of the conference season to then-No. 1 Stanford, the Sun Devils have won three games in a row, including victories over Cal in Berkeley and over the two Washington schools at home.
While the entire nation knows of the play of senior guard Eddie House (34.9 points per game since Dec. 18), the play of freshman forward Shawn Redhage has gone reasonably unnoticed by most, with the exception of the aforementioned Pac-10 teams.
Redhage, a native of Lincoln, Neb. and the consensus Nebraska prep player of the year last season, is averaging 17.7 points, seven rebounds and 5.3 assists in the past three games for ASU. For the season he is averaging 12.1 points per game and is shooting a blazing 56.9 percent from the floor.
In the Sun Devils recent win over Washington State, Redhage poured in 16 points, pulled down six rebounds and had a Sun Devil season-high seven assists.
After an 0-of-6 performance from behind the three-point arc against Arizona in Stanford's 68-65 loss, freshman forward Casey Jacobsen found his touch again during the weekend sweep of the Oregon schools - hitting 6-of-7 from behind the stripe.
Jacobsen's three-point total is now up to 31 for the season, already a freshman single-season record at Stanford.
For the season, Stanford is shooting 36 percent from three-point land, but in the last six games, they are shooting 43 percent, including 50 percent or better in three of those six games.
For the eighth straight week, two Pac-10 teams find themselves in the nation's top-5 in both the USA Today/ ESPN poll and the Associated Press poll.
Arizona is once again in the No. 2 spot in both polls, garnering four first place votes from the AP and one in the USA Today/ESPN poll. Stanford sits right under the Wildcats at No. 3 in both polls, including a first place vote from the AP.
The only other ranked Pac-10 team is UCLA (No. 19 in USA Today/ESPN, unranked in the AP poll).
Dan Rosen can be reached at Dan.Rosen@wildcat.arizona.edu.