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USC Vs. Cal Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Opener Game Preview

The USC Trojans open their Pac-12 Conference schedule on the road Thursday night against the Cal Bears at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. USC opens their conference season with road games against the two teams playing as well as any teams in the Pac-12 in Cal and Stanford.

USC (5-8) is just 1-4 in the month of December, and has had a tough time offensively. The Trojans are averaging just 55.8 points per game on the season and have shot under 40% in six of their 13 games, including four of their last five.

Maurice Jones leads the Trojans in points (14.9 per game), assists (3.85 per game), and steals (1.54) this season, and has been an iron man of sorts. Jones has played in 508 of a possible 530 minutes this year, and leads the nation averaging 39.1 minutes per game.

Cal was picked to finish No. 2 in the conference on Pac-12 media day, and has played well so far this season, winning 10 of their first 13 games. Cal is 9-0 at home this season. Sophomore guard Allen Crabbe is fourth in the Pac-12 averaging 15.8 points per game, one of three Cal guards to average in double figures, joining Jorge Gutierrez and Justin Cobbs.

USC and Cal split two regular season meetings last year, with the road team winning each game. The Trojans did beat the Bears in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament.

Thursday's 6 p.m. PST game won't be televised locally, but will be on CSN California, with Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini on the call. For more USC hoops news and analysis, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.