The Water's Fine

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USC men's water polo hosts two home matches this weekend as the end of the regular season approaches.

Click here for the full preview!

Tomorrow, the No. 3 Trojans host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 5 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatic Center. USC has never lost to the Stags, and beat them 20-5 in their matchup last season.

On Saturday, the Trojans face a rematch with the only team that's beat them all season: Cal. The No. 2 Bears edged USC, 10-8, in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Invitational back in September. USC's McQuin Baron, the best goalie in the conference in terms of goals-against average (4.22) will go up against the MPSF's top scorer in Johnny Hooper (2.94 goals per game) under the lights. Hooper led all players with three goals in USC's first matchup with Cal.

The Trojans take on Cal at 6:30 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center.


2016 Game 8: USC vs. Cal

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California Golden Bears (4-3, 2-2) at USC Trojans (4-3, 3-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN and WatchESPN

Webb.jpgBear to Watch: Senior QB Davis Webb

USC head coach Clay Helton unequivocally called Webb "the best quarterback we have faced this year," and it is easy to see why. He leads the Pac-12 and ranks third in the nation in passing at 368.7 yards per game. The Texas Tech transfer has quickly filled the void left by Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. While Webb may be without his top target, Pac-12 leading receiver Chad Hansen, it did not seem to bother him against Oregon last week when he threw for 325 yards and 5 TDs.

Click here for more on the Bears.

3 Keys

Dictate the Terms

Cal has scored 40 or more points in six of seven games this season, but the Bears have yielded 40+ five times, so their strategy is clear. Head coach Sonny Dykes wants to lure opponents into a shootout and beat them late (five of their seven games have been decided by 7 points or less). Cal averages 89.6 plays per game (second most in the nation), while the Trojans are plodders by comparison (71.9 plays per game, 85th in the country). USC must impose its style to control the tempo of the game just like it did last year in a 27-21 victory in Berkeley.

Weave a Tangled Webb

Despite throwing 51.9 passes per game (second most in the nation), the Bears have only allowed 14 sacks (4th best in the Pac-12). Webb will release the ball quickly, so the Trojans must put pressure in his face to get him off his spot and out of rhythm. If his field of vision is compromised and he cannot rely on his first read, the blitzers and edge rushers will have time to get home. Webb is not a particularly mobile quarterback, amassing -86 yards rushing this season, so if the Trojans can force him to hold onto the ball, they will have a party in the backfield.

Be Ruthless

Quite simply, the Trojans can put up a number in this game if they are efficient in the red zone and hold on to the football. The Bears are last in the Pac-12 in rush defense and 11th in total defense and scoring defense. As it proved against Arizona and Arizona State, USC can be an offensive machine when it gets out if its own way. The Trojans are rolling with Sam Darnold at quarterback, averaging 36.7 points per game over their last three contests (25th in the country in that span). Even without Justin Davis and Steven Mitchell, Darnold has a plethora of weapons to whom he can distribute the ball, starting with JuJu Smith-Schuster who has six touchdowns over his last three games.

Real Trojans Don't Bully

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In support of Bully Prevention Month and Playworks, the Trojans released a video urging kids to settle their conflicts peacefully.

Women's Basketball Poster

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The Women of Troy begin the season on November 11 as the front end of a doubleheader which will be capped by the men's basketball season opener at 8 p.m. The rest of the schedule can be found here or below on this year's poster featuring Courtney Jaco, Alexis Lloyd, Jordan Adams and Ivana Jakubcova.

Click here for ticket information!

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Pawel Furtek

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

SDM16-NCAA-Sat-USC(Originals022).jpgName: Pawel Furtek
Class: Junior
Sport: Swimming
Major: Computer Engineering & Computer Science
GPA: 3.9

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Coming from Poland, how did you hear about USC in the first place? And how did you decide to come here?

Pawel Furtek (PF): Back in middle school, my coach told me about studying in America, how it allows you to be a top student and top swimmer at the same time, and it really stuck in my head. Back then, I would look at universities around here, and I remember looking at USC and seeing Coach Dave Salo here. He's a very well-known coach around the world. And I would think, 'Oh that would be so cool to come here.' So flash forward to summer of 2013, I was at the World Junior Championships and when I was in Dubai, I received a Facebook message from an assistant coach from USC, asking 'Have you ever thought about studying in the U.S.?' and I was like, 'Heck yeah.' I checked that he was actually a coach at USC and I was like, 'This is just perfect!' After that message, I was sure I wanted to come here ... It was just a dream come true.

AK: When and how did you get interested in computer science?

PF: Actually, if I stayed in Poland, I would be a lawyer. I actually applied to law school and got in back in Poland. But I've always also liked math and logic, so I feel like computer science and engineering are things that use a lot of math and a lot of logic. So I said, 'I'll give it a try.' And honestly, I'm so happy I didn't go to law school, because this major is just everything I've always wanted to do.

AK: Why do you like it so much?

PF: I really like coding, which is weird, because it's a very long process to write a program. But I really like the fact that I build it from scratch --- from nothing to the final product. And also, the moment when your code finally works, even if it's just printing 'Hello, World' or something, it's such a great experience.

AK: What do you think you want to do with your degree?

PF: I'm not sure yet. I'm sure I want to code. My major is really computer science and computer engineering, so it's the software part and the hardware part. I think I want to focus on the software part of my major. I'm actually interning right now with a mobile development company ... That would be awesome if I could do mobile development, but really I'm still open to any opportunity.

AK: I've heard before that math and numbers are the same in any language. Do you think that has helped you in your classes, considering English isn't your first language?

PF: That's what I really like about computer science --- especially in my freshman year, English was still pretty hard. I knew the language, but it was still pretty hard to understand, it was hard to speak, because everyone around me was a perfectly native speaker. But when we were learning coding language, everyone was at the same level. It was even. So I feel like that made me like it more, because I wasn't at a disadvantage.

AK: Does the mental toughness that it takes to do long distance swimming translate to the classroom?

PF: Obviously, if you're a distance swimmer, you have to have a certain mentality ... I feel like my distance swimming helps me with school, because I spend a lot of time actually swimming, and not standing at the wall. So when you swim and you can only hear the water buzzing, it clears your mind a lot. And in my major, you often have an algorithm problem that would take two days to solve, and you think about it constantly. And in those moments when I swim, those are the moments when I come up with the best ideas ... It's really cool to think about something while you swim. It also helps you get through practice if it's hard --- you don't focus on how hard it is, you focus on school.

AK: What did it mean to you and your family to earn CSCAA Scholar All-American team honorable mention honors last year?

PF: My family is very supportive of me. They always ask me how I'm doing in school, and even if I do badly, they're like, 'OK, it's fine, it's college.' But honestly, it means a lot to me, because back in Poland, being an athlete would mean they don't do well in school. And even here, when you hear 'student-athlete,' you think of them as people who get through classes just because they're athletes and they would fail otherwise ... So I really want to prove to myself, to my teammates and to non-athletes that a student-athlete  actually can do well in school and beat other people in the classroom.

AK: Lastly, what goals do you have going forward as a student and an athlete?

PF: Well as an athlete, I want to final at NCAAs this year. Last year I got 10th --- I was a second behind being eighth. That would be awesome if I could do that this year. I feel like I'm ready and the coaches think I'm ready. And for academics, honestly, I just want to get straight As. That's what Dave [Salo] always tells us ... Our coach is great at forcing this mentality on us, that we need to do well in the classroom as well as in the pool. He always tells us that we're not football, we're not basketball --- we're not going to make a living out of swimming. There's a very small probability that you're actually going to be Michael Phelps ... he always tells us that what you're going to do in the classroom is going to matter in your future.

Cal Tuesday: Notes

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In his final press conference before the Trojans get back to work on Thursday night, head coach Clay Helton proclaimed that RB Justin Davis is "doubtful", discussed pitch counts for quarterbacks and much more.

Four for Stopping the Score

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For the fourth time this season and the second week in a row, Sammy Jo Prudhomme of USC women's soccer was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week.

Click here for the full release!

In USC's two wins this weekend, Prudhomme made five saves and didn't allow a single goal. She now boasts 10 individual shutouts this year, the most ever by a Trojan in a single regular season.

The Aliso Viejo, CA native leads the conference in shutouts (10), goals against average (0.44) and save percentage (.909). No other Pac-12 goalkeeper has earned the award as many times and Prudhomme this year. In fact, Prudhomme has won more weekly honors than any player of any position in the Pac-12 this season.

She stacks up against some of the best goalkeepers in the nation, as well --- fourth in the nation in save percentage and tied for fifth in shutouts.

Prudhomme has now earned six of the Pac-12's weekly honors in her career. She and the No. 4 Trojans travel to face Utah and Colorado before finishing out the regular season on Nov. 4 against UCLA at StubHub Center.

Click here for tickets!


Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 10

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USC women's soccer moved up to No. 4 in the nation after two more wins this weekend over Washington State and Washington. The Women of Troy improved to 13-3 with the two shutout victories, during which head coach Keidane McAlpine called his goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme "phenomenal."

Hear everything McAlpine had to say about his team and the final three games of the regular season:

#USCtotheNBA in 2016

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With the 2016-17 NBA season tipping off tonight, we take a look at the five former USC players on opening day rosters.

taj gibson.jpgF Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls)

The longest-tenured member of a fresh-faced Bulls roster, Gibson will start at forward for Chicago in their season opener on Thursday evening. Last season, Gibson averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and may see more opportunities to increase those numbers with big men Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah gone. After missing the playoffs last season, Gibson and his new teammates Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo aim to get Chicago back on top.

G Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers)

Young, who is entering his fourth year with the hometown Lakers, looks to make an impact off the bench this season. The charismatic character, who scored 7.3 points per game last season, is now one of the veterans on a young Los Angeles squad looking to get back to its winning ways.

C Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic)

Vucevic led the Magic in scoring (18.2 PPG) rebounding (8.9 RPG) and blocks (1.1 BPG) last season. He was one of just four players (ATL's Paul Millsap, NO's Anthony Davis, SAC's DeMarcus Cousins) to lead his team in those three categories last year. Under new head coach Frank Vogel, Vucevic will look to continue his offensive excellence and potentially push the Magic into the playoffs.

C Dewayne Dedmon (San Antonio Spurs)

Dedmon, USC's most recent NBA addition, enters his first season with the Spurs when they play the Warriors tonight. The Spurs will surely rely on Dedmon's size (7 feet, 245 lbs.) to protect the rim in relief of Pau Gasol. He averaged 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds while playing 12.2 minutes per game last year for the Magic. Dedmon and the Spurs enter the season at No. 3 in ESPN's power rankings.

G DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

Fresh off a gold medal winning performance in Rio, DeRozan hopes to take the next step with the Raptors this season. DeRozan led Toronto with 23.5 PPG last year, adding 4.0 assists per game and 4.5 rebounds per game on his way to his second career All-Star game. He helped the Raptors reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where they fell, 4-2, to the eventual NBA Champion Cavaliers. With Team USA this summer, he came off the bench to contribute 6.6 PPG.

Follow @USC_Hoops on Twitter for updates on Trojans in the NBA all season long.

demar derozan.jpg

Poster Boys

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USC men's basketball season begins November 11 at 8 p.m. against Montana at the Galen Center. The Trojans are expected to have a big year, returning four elite players plus a host of talented newcomers.

Click here for tickets.

Last week, the Trojans revealed their 2016-17 schedule posters via social media. Be sure to follow @USC_Hoops on Twitter and @uschoops on Instagram.