The Trojans head across the street tonight to face UCLA in the old digs, the Sports Arena. It may be the shortest road trip ever played for the Trojans, but given SC’s struggles thus far in 2012, it might end up feeling like a long trip if the Trojans can’t improve from the 19-point loss to UCLA last month. We wanted to get the take from Westwood, so here’s some Q&A with Carlos Sandoval Jr. of GoJoeBruin.com, our FanSided twisted sister site.
Reign of Troy:After the last game between the teams, a big UCLA win, is there any chance UCLA rests on its laurels for the rematch?
Go Joe Bruin: Sort of. Aside from Cal, the only thing that’s beaten this squad is, well, this squad. With 11 losses, I doubt this team gets cocky and decides to take a day off. The best chance that UCLA has to drop a game at “home” is by doing what they’ve done in the majority of losses: Become turnover-prone, miss shots, let penetrators past the wings and into the paint, and miss all of their free throws. All of this doesn’t happen throughout the game, mind you, but instead happens in the final five to seven minutes of contests.
Reign of Troy: How’s the Sports Arena been for UCLA? I know many people hated the selection of it, while some liked the idea. How would you say it’s worked out?
Go Joe Bruin: I haven’t been to the Sports Arena — my lungs may become cancerous from the smog — so I can’t say first-hand. From what I’ve heard from friends and fans, it’s pretty awful, and a lot are complaining that it’s just too close to uSc to even be considered a “home” game. A lot of people prefer the Honda Center. That said, it’s better than the Galen Center.
Reign of Troy: USC has a problem rebounding and last time we checked they were 343rd of 344 teams in the NCAA in rebounding. How’s UCLA on the glass?
Go Joe Bruin: We aren’t that much better — our bigs have good motors and they try, but we have some serious issues with giving up offensive rebounds. Josh Smith should be the guy clearing up the boards, but he checks out of games far too often for him to have a consistent impact. The Wear Twins hate getting their hands dirty it seems sometimes.
Reign of Troy: Which Wear twin do I need to worry about, if I’m SC?
Go Joe Bruin: It’s remarkable how similarly they play. I believe David Wear tends to be more outside-oriented, but I can never tell the difference. Regardless, you’ll never see both of them on the floor at the same time. Strike that, you shouldn’t see them on the floor at the same time. Neither of the Twins can play the three nor the five all that well anyway.
Reign of Troy: Lastly, can the whole conference take a mulligan this season and move on to 2012-13? You and the Bruins on board with that?
Go Joe Bruin: I think we should donate any and all tournament spots to the Big East.