College Hoops Thursday: Your Commentary
The Pac-10 usually takes center stage on Thursday nights, and even with the league's struggles there is some intrigue. Washington State visits USC in a game they need to win in order to enhance their chances of getting to the NCAA Tournament. In Klay Thompson the Cougars have one of the early favorites to win Pac-10 Player of the Year, but with USC being one of the best defensive teams in the conference what Reggie Moore and DeAngelo Casto get done could be the difference at the Galen Center.
The Trojans have plenty of talent and head coach Kevin O'Neill has kept his team competitive despite the decision of the higher-ups to rule them ineligible for postseason play. Mike Gerrity became eligible halfway through the season and can already be considered one of the conference's best point guards, and Dwight Lewis and Alex Stepheson provide two solid scoring options. Both teams are comfortable playing in the sixties but Wazzu will likely favor a quicker tempo with more possessions. Also on tap is Washington visiting UCLA and Oregon taking on Cal in Berkeley. In a league that lacks a consistent team you never know what will ensue.
In other action, Florida needs wins in order to keep that elusive at-large berth within their sights; Arkansas has talent but disciplinary issues have robbed them of opportunities to improve on-court chemistry. With Rotnei Clarke ranking among the best shooters in the nation and a very good freshman in Marshawn Powell Thursday could be the night that it all comes together. And out west, Gonzaga host Pepperdine in a matchup of the last two undefeated teams in WCC play. Thursday doesn't feature many games on the schedule but there will be some intrigue.
7p ESPN Louisville at Seton Hall
7p ESPN2 Indiana at Penn State
7p ESPNU Tennessee State at Jacksonville State
9p ESPN Florida at Arkansas
10:30p FSN Washington at UCLA
11p ESPNU San Diego at St. Mary's
7p Stony Brook at Vermont
7p Liberty at High Point
8p South Alabama at North Texas
8p Western Kentucky at Troy
8:30p East Tennessee St at Lipscomb
10p Cal State Fullerton at Pacific
10p Utah St at Fresno St
10:30p Washington St at USC
USC over Washington State: The Trojans deserve credit for continuing to compete night in and night out despite knowing that their season ends without postseason play. Most teams would have shut it down by now, but their defensive ability and the leadership of Coach O'Neill have kept this team more than competitive. Look for USC to knock off the Cougars at home.