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‘DT’ columnists talk Pac-12 men’s tourney

first_imgQ: USC enters the tournament as the 12th and lowest seed. Is there any way the Trojans can muster a title run?Selbe: A title run seems out of the question for USC this season. As the team showed during the regular season conference schedule, it just doesn’t have the firepower to consistently beat Pac-12 competition. To make matters worse, Enfield inherited a roster that doesn’t quite fit his style, and as a result, the Trojans haven’t looked particularly sharp on offense all season. The team has made a habit of keeping the game close in the first half, then fading quickly in the second, usually as a result of a prolonged scoring drought. Maybe Enfield can spark some postseason magic like he did last year at Florida Gulf Coast, but after watching the Trojans struggle their way to a 2-16 conference record, that seems highly unlikely.Laws: If they did, it’d be one of the greatest run of upsets in a major conference tournament ever. But they won’t. USC’s defense is simply not good enough this year to win four straight games against Pac-12 competition. Wins over Colorado and Cal are not out of the realm of possibility, but there’s no way the Trojans will advance past Arizona in the semifinals. Even a win over the Buffs would be shocking, though.Nourian: There is a better chance that I get drafted by an NBA team than the Trojans winning the Pac-12 Tournament. Sorry to be pessimistic, but it’s just not going to happen.Burton: As surprising as the women’s Pac-12 Championship is, they would have nothing on the men’s squad if the impossible were to happen. And yet, that’s why they play the games. Like I said, the Trojans are not as bad as their record. I, however, take some sort of sick, schadenfreude-like pleasure from the basketball team’s struggles (because seriously, how else would it be enjoyable?), so I’m gonna say no.Freedman: No. These Trojans have shown that they can compete with anyone in the Pac-12 for 20 to 30 minutes. Yet only twice in the Pac-12 have they held on to win a game in the second half, and both of their wins were them staving off comebacks. The Trojans simply don’t have the consistency to reel off two strong halves, let alone four  straight wins.USC plays Colorado tomorrow  at 2:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. Q: Should USC win its first-round matchup, the team would advance to play Cal. How do the Trojans match up against the Bears?Selbe: USC actually matches up well against Cal. The Trojans dominated in the two teams’ first meeting at the Galen Center in a 77-69 win, the Trojans’ first conference win of the season. In the second matchup, the game was tightly contested for most of the game, despite USC playing without a suspended Byron Wesley. Cal plays more with a finesse style, which bodes well for USC. At full strength, the Trojans should, at the very least, hang tough with the Bears, especially considering that Cal enters the tournament having lost four of its last six games.Laws: Not going to happen.Nourian: USC isn’t going to win its first-round matchup against Colorado, but in the event that the team does, the Trojans actually match up very well with the Bears, having beaten them earlier in conference play, one of just two conference wins. With [freshman forward] Nikola Jovanovic and [senior center] Omar Oraby up front, the Trojans have a size advantage and out-rebounded the Golden Bears in their last meeting [at the Galen Center].Burton: Cal is, amazingly, one of USC’s two Pac-12 wins this season. They can, in theory, run with almost anyone in the conference, including the Bears. But there’s no questioning who the better team is.Freedman: Out of all the teams, I was rooting for USC to face Cal in the opening round. They’ve already defeated the Golden Bears this season, and given that Cal is not a great offense squad, USC’s guards could go off and spring another win. Left out · Despite ranking sixth in the conference in points per game, junior guard Byron Wesley wasn’t named to any All-Pac-12 team. Still, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native will need to stay sharp in the Pac-12 Tournament. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanQ: USC faces Colorado in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. The first time these teams met this season, the Buffaloes took topped the Trojans by 21 points. When USC hosted Colorado a month later, the Buffaloes won again, this time by a nine-point margin. What do the Trojans have to do differently to win this game?Selbe: USC must do a better job of slowing down Colorado’s guards. Top guard Askia Booker had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists, pacing the Buffaloes’ offensive attack [in the most recent matchup]. USC was without senior point guard Pe’Shon Howard, who was out with a suspension. That left Enfield with limited options at the guard position, which cost the Trojans on the defensive end. With Howard back for the Pac-12 Tournament, USC’s defense should be improved.Laws: In the first contest, even though Colorado had just lost star guard Spencer Dinwiddie for the season, the Buffs still routed USC by 21 points. In both games, USC gave up 83 points. The Trojans will have to be more disciplined on defense — but they’ve had that problem all season long, so it’s hard to see that changing now.Nourian: The Trojans have to play really well and not just for a stretch during the game, but for the whole 40 minutes, which they have struggled to do all season. Colorado, however, is just a better all-around team than the Trojans, as five Buffaloes scored in double figures in their last meeting, so it’s going to be tough to stop them, especially former Mater Dei star Xavier Johnson who dropped a team-high 20 points the last time around. USC is also going to have to get out to Colorado’s shooters behind the three-point line and not jump out to a slow start. In Colorado, the Trojans faced a 20-2 deficit to begin the game, which can’t happen in the NCAA Tournament.Burton: Be smart. The Trojans are not as bad as their record indicates, but they have been plagued this season by inexplicable lapses in concentration. Each loss has seemed to include a lull where the Trojans just sort of lose focus, taking bad shots and committing dumb turnovers. Generally, the severity of the loss correlates to the length of the lull. Clearly this is easier said than done, but … don’t have a lull.Freedman: Get more aggressive down low. It’s been a struggle for senior centers Omar Oraby and D.J. Haley on defense against the Buffs this year, as Colorado big men Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott have scored 67 points in two games against USC this season. Haley has been playing well of late, and if USC can limit, not stop, Colorado in the paint, then the Trojans could combine that with hot shooting into an upset.center_img After finishing the regular season with a dismal 11-20 record, including a 2-16 mark in Pac-12 play, USC’s men’s basketball team heads to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament this week. Head coach Andy Enfield would have to lead the Trojans to the tournament title to have any shot at making the NCAA Tournament, but chances are slim considering the Trojans would have to face top-seeded Arizona in the semifinals, if they beat Colorado and Cal to make it there. Daily Trojan sports columnists Nick Selbe, Will Laws, Darian Nourian, Jacob Freedman and Nick Burton discussed the team’s first-round matchup against Colorado and its chances going forward. last_img read more

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Women’s soccer: Badgers fall to Michigan in overtime, ending seven game winning streak

first_imgEven though the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team managed to take the game into overtime, they would still fall to the Michigan Wolverines, ending their seven game winning streak.The leg of forward Reilly Martin, Michigan (5-2-4, 2-1-1 Big Ten) took down Wisconsin (8-2-0, 2-1-0 Big Ten) in the sixth minute of overtime. For the Badgers, this is their first loss of a dominant month-long stretch where they outscored opponents 14-2.The two teams exchanged goals relatively early in what became another defensive battle for the Badgers. Jada Dayne, a Michigan player who happens to be the daughter of Wisconsin football legend Ron Dayne, got the Wolverines off to an early head start with her first period strike on the assist from Katie Foug. Soon after the second period started, Dani Rhodes answered on a penalty kick for her sixth goal of the season.Women’s soccer: Wisconsin holds on to defeat Michigan State in overtimeThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer once again delivered in a clutch overtime situation during a 2-1 victory over the Read…Unfortunately for Wisconsin, once overtime began, something had to break in this defensive struggle. For her second goal of the season Reilly Martin sent the Badgers home with an impressive shot on a pass from mid fielder Sarah Stratigakis.On the goalkeeping end, Caitlyn Clem maintained a high level of play in a tough loss, notching four of six saves in the overtime game.  However, Michigan keeper Sarah Jackson proved herself today, only allowing one penalty shot goal with seven saves.Though Wisconsin has had success thus far in season, this loss is a reminder the Big Ten will not be an easy conference to succeed in. Including the Badgers, there are three Big Ten teams ranked in the top twelve of Division I.The Badgers play one of these teams, Rutgers, during their upcoming East Coast road trip as well as a competitive Maryland team.  The Scarlet Knights have yet to lose with a record of 8-0-2, notching them the No. 12 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. Casey Murphy will be the Badgers biggest challenge, allowing only one goal thus far this season.Before making their way to Piscataway, New Jersey, the Badgers will stop in College Park for a difficult matchup against Maryland. With a record of 7-2-1, the Terps will be another challenging obstacle for the Badger women as they continue conference play.After some close contests to begin the Big Ten season, the Badgers must maintain their focus as they prepare for the critical conference games ahead. Next up for the Badgers is two away games, the first of which is against Maryland Sept. 29.last_img read more

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UCL Preview: Liverpool look for first Europa win, Tottenham seek revenge, Dortmund set to bang goals

first_imgTottenham will seek to reverse their Europa League defeat by Anderlecht in Group J after letting an early lead slip in Belgium two weeks ago.Spurs, who are 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League, are third in a tight group with two points separating all four teams at the halfway stage.Winger Andros Townsend has been dropped from the squad after a row.But forward Son Heung-min is in contention after six weeks out with a foot problem.”Son is ready and in the squad for tomorrow,” said Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.”We need to decide whether he can stay or be on the bench. He is much better and we are happy with the recovery.” Midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has also returned to training after two months out with an ankle problem but the midfielder is not yet match fit, while forward Clinton Njie is a doubt with a hamstring injury.Spurs are level on points with Anderlecht and one behind leaders Monaco, who travel to Azerbaijan to face bottom side Qarabag. Striker Christian Benteke, who has made three substitute appearances since returning from injury, is included.Youngsters Pedro Chirivella, Cameron Brannagan and back-up goalkeeper Ryan Fulton have also travelled to Russia. Midfielder Joao Teixeira is ineligible and defender Connor Randall, who made his senior debut against Bournemouth last week, has not travelled.New Reds boss Klopp has adopted contrasting selection policy to predecessor Brendan Rodgers, who left six senior players at home for their first Europa League trip.Rodgers’ youthful side earned a 1-1 draw at Bordeaux in September, before another much-changed team also drew 1-1 against Swiss side Sion at Anfield.Klopp replaced the sacked Rodgers in early October and took charge at Anfield for the first time when the Reds hosted Russian side Rubin a fortnight later.The German named a strong side, which was held to another 1-1 draw, and looks set to do the same in the return fixture. Second-placed Liverpool trail leaders Sion by four points, and are one ahead of Rubin.Following Thursday’s match in Russia, Liverpool host Bordeaux on 26 November before a trip to Sion in their final game on 10 December. Celtic captain Scott Brown will miss the Europa League match with Molde as he recovers from a knee injury.Manager Ronny Deila hopes the midfielder will return after the international break in mid-November. Jozo Simunovic remains a fitness doubt with a foot problem and the defender will be assessed again on Thursday.”It’s getting better every day and we have a hope for tomorrow,” was Deila’s assessment of the 21-year-old Croatian’s chances of playing.Influential skipper Brown was injured in the warm-up for last week’s League Cup victory at Hearts and was absent for Saturday’s Premiership win over Aberdeen.”He is an important player but we have a lot of good players in this squad,” added Deila. “We have Stefan [Johansen] and Nir [Bitton] and they have done well.”It’s good for the whole club that we’re not relying on one person.” Simunovic picked up a knock in the latter stages of the weekend win.Molde are the surprise leaders of Group A, with seven points from their opening three matches.Celtic are bottom of the section after draws against Ajax and Fenerbahce and a 3-1 loss in Norway.Borussia Dortmund host Azerbaijani side FK Qabala on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Dortmund would all but clinch a spot in the round of 32 with a win, as they currently sit atop Group C with a four-point cushion over third-placed PAOK Salonika.The German club will advance with a win if PAOK lose at FK Krasnodar on Thursday. Even if that doesn’t happen, a win would give them a six-point advantage over third place regardless of the result in Russia with two matchdays to go.Qabala, meanwhile, have very little hope of reaching the next round, but they won’t be too beaten up about it, seeing as this is their very first European campaign.The Azerbaijani club have so far managed only one point in Group C, a goalless draw at home against PAOK on Matchday 1.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more