February 21, 2013 by Seth Rubinroit
By Seth Rubinroit
Guard J.T. Terrell, who grew up in North Carolina, experienced his first taste of the USC-UCLA rivalry during the Trojans’ 75-71 overtime victory over the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on January 30.
“The Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry is one of the biggest games where I’m from, but USC-UCLA is one of the biggest rivalries on the West Coast,” Terrell said. “There is a lot of history between these two schools.”
The Trojans host the Bruins on Sunday at 12:30. Here’s what you need to know before tip-off:
How good are the Trojans?
Don’t let USC’s (12-14, 7-6) record fool you. The Trojans have looked like a completely different team under interim head coach Bob Cantu, and have won four of their last five games.
As difficult as it would have been to believe last season, or even for parts of this year, the Trojans have proven they can actually score under Cantu. USC is currently third in the Pac-12 in scoring in conference games, and the Trojans have scored 69 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since the 2008 season.
The Trojans are led by Eric Wise (12.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg) and J.T. Terrell, who has scored in double figures in 10 of USC’s last 11 games.
What’s at stake?
The Bruins want revenge after losing at home to the Trojans in January.
USC wants nothing more than to sweep the series for the second time in the last four seasons, which would likely mean sending star UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad to the NBA without having beaten USC, his father’s alma mater. USC has won five of the last nine games against UCLA.
Both teams are fighting to finish in the top-four in the Pac-12, which would mean a bye in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA is currently one game behind top-seeded Oregon, while the Trojans are three games back.
When should I arrive?
Unlike most USC basketball games, students cannot simply stroll in at game time and expect to find a good seat. Doors open at 11:30am. Students in the top 500 of the Trojan Fever attendance incentive program can enter the Galen Center early at 11:00am. Seating is first come, first serve.
In 2011, students quickly filled both the lower bowl of the student section and the allotted sections in the upper bowl. Students arriving after the national anthem were turned away.
The first 1,000 students will receive a gold foam finger.
What should I wear?
The USC Athletic Department is trying to create an all-gold student section. All students must wear gold Trojan Fever or “We Play to Rise” shirts to sit in the lower bowl of the student section. Students can buy gold Trojan Fever shirts for $5 at the door, while supplies last.
USC will be recording the official athletics Harlem Shake video at the game, following in the footsteps of several other college basketball programs: