No. 6 Sooners Host USC at 6 p.m.

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 Oklahoma (6-0) vs. USC (5-2) 
 Date & Tip Time

 Thursday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. CST

 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center 
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV

 ESPN2/ESPN2HD

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City
 KMOD FM 97.5 in Tulsa
 Video Webcast  ESPN360.com
 Live Stats  SoonerSports.com/GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

PREVIEWING THURSDAY'S GAME
Owner of its highest national ranking since December 2005, No. 6/6 Oklahoma (6-0) hosts preseason top-25 opponent USC in a Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series matchup Thursday at 6 p.m. CST at Lloyd Noble Center.  The Sooners are off to their best start since the 2003-04 season, while the Trojans have won two in a row.  The game will be televised by ESPN2 and ESPN2HD with Bob Wischusen and Fran Fraschilla announcing, and will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KMOD FM-97.5 in Tulsa) with Bob Barry, Sr. and Mike Houck calling the action.

TICKET INFORMATION
• Upper-level reserved seats are available for $20 (east and west) at the OU Athletics Ticket Office.  Lloyd Noble Center ticket windows will open at 4 p.m. on Thursday. 

PROMOTIONS
• The first 5,000 fans through the doors will receive free rally towels. 
• Acclaimed "Red Panda Acrobat" will perform at halftime on her seven-foot unicycle. 

 USC's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
10
 DeMar DeRozan
6-7
220
Fr.
 9.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 44.1 FG%
F
22
 Taj Gibson
6-9
225
Jr.
 15.7 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.6 bpg
G
13
 Daniel Hackett
6-5
215
Jr.
 10.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.1 apg
G
21
 Dwight Lewis
6-5
215
Jr.
 16.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 35.7 3FG%
G
25
 Donte Smith
5-11
180
So.
 4.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.9 apg

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 25.7 ppg, 19.2 rpg, 69.2 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 11.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 65.8 FG%
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4
207
Fr.
 14.8 ppg, 2.3 apg, 80.0 FT%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 6.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 1.2 bpg 

"NOTE"WORTHY
• Blake Griffin’s career high in rebounds entering the year was 17.  He has pulled down at least 18 rebounds in five of OU’s six games and grabbed 15 in the other.
• Griffin (19.2 rpg) is on pace to shatter the school record for rebounding average in a season.  The standard of 13.3 boards per game was set by Alvan Adams in 1974-75.  Griffin is also averaging 12.2 free throw attempts a game, a figure that would break Stacey King’s 1988-89 record of 8.9 foul shots per outing.
• Through six games, OU has faced five preseason conference players of the year in American’s Garrison Carr, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, Gardner-Webb’s Grayson Flittner, UAB’s Robert Vaden and Purdue’s Robbie Hummel.
• Out of its 31 regular season games this year, OU will play 21 against teams that made the 2008 postseason (15 against NCAA Tournament teams, four against NIT squads and two against CBI teams).  USC made last year’s NCAA Tournament.

NOTING THE BIG 12/PAC-10 HARDWOOD SERIES
• Thursday's OU-USC game marks the second of this year's Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  Stanford beat Colorado 76-62 on Saturday in Palo Alto, Calif.  Overall in early matchups this year, the Big 12 has a 4-1 record versus the Pac-10.
• Last year, the Pac-10 had the edge in official Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series games with a 7-5 mark.  Outside of the series, the Big 12 had a 6-1 record versus the Pac-10 in 2007-08, including a 2-1 mark in the NCAA Tournament.
• The games this season are return contests from one year ago.  New pairings for the next two years of the agreement will be announced in the near future.
• All games in the series will be nationally televised.  Seven are slated for national broadcast on FSN.  Five will be on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
• Because of the uneven number of teams in the two leagues, Arizona and Stanford each play two games.  Three games take place outside the main series window of Dec. 4-7 (Colorado at Stanford; Kansas at Arizona, Dec. 23; Texas Tech at Stanford, Dec. 28).

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Blake Griffin | So. | Forward
 • Averaging 25.7 points, a nation-leading 19.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game
 • Has recorded six double-doubles to start the season
 • Has been named Big 12 Player of the Week three straight times to start the season
 • Has recorded at least 15 rebounds in all six games and grabbed at least 18 in five outings

   

FRIDAY'S PURDUE RECAP
• Oklahoma earned its first win against a top-10 team since the 2005-06 season when it defeated No. 10/9 Purdue 87-82 in overtime in the championship game of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off last Friday at Madison Square Garden.
• The victory was OU's first against a top-10 team away from Norman since early in the 2003-04 season when it beat Michigan State in overtime in Auburn Hills, Mich.
• The Sooners overcame a nine-point first-half deficit to lead by four (52-48) with 13:09 remaining in the second half.  They fell behind by nine again (67-58) with 8:08 left thanks to a 19-6 Purdue run, only to force overtime by outscoring the Boilermakers 16-7 down the stretch in regulation.  OU fell behind by four (80-76) two minutes into overtime but finished on an 11-2 run.
• Blake Griffin recorded his sixth straight double-double to start the year with a season-low 18 points and a career-high-tying 21 rebounds.  He added three assists, two blocks and two steals en route to being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
• Senior forward Taylor Griffin scored a season-high 19 points on 8-for-12 field goal shooting while adding two assists and two blocked shots.  He played a career-high 43 minutes and was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team.
• Freshman guard Willie Warren netted a team-high 22 points (also represented a career high) with the help of 11-for-13 free throw shooting.  He also logged three assists and a career-high three steals.
• Senior guard Austin Johnson registered his first double-digit scoring effort of the year with 11 points and added six assists.
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis scored all 10 of his points after halftime.  He nailed two treys and was 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
• OU endured a stretch of four straight Purdue 3-pointers that took the Boilers from a four-point deficit to a six-point lead (60-54).
• The Sooners forced a Purdue team that averaged less than 10 turnovers a contest entering the day into 19 miscues.
• OU's .403 field goal mark was a season low.  It outrebounded the Boilers 44-35 and held a 46-5 advantage in free throw attempts.

WHO’S HOT
• Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is averaging 25.7 points and a nation-leading 19.2 rebounds per game while shooting .692 from the field.  Griffin adds 2.8 assists (second most on team) and a team-high 2.3 steals a contest.  He has recorded at least 15 rebounds in each game and pulled down at least 18 in five outings (18, 19, 21, 21 and 21).  Griffin scored at least 20 points in the first five games (24, 20, 25, 35 and 32) before settling for 18 in the most recent contest.
• Griffin has already attempted 73 free throws on the season (an average of 12.2 attempts a game).  He is 35-for-51 (.686) over the last four games after going 9-for-22 (.409) over the first two contests.
• After averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds over OU's first two games, senior forward Taylor Griffin is averaging 13.8 points and 7.0 boards over the last four.  He is 21-for-31 (.677) from the field in those outings.
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis returned to the floor for two games last week after missing the Nov. 22 Gardner-Webb game with an ankle injury.  He scored a career-high 12 points on a career-high four treys against UAB (all in second half) before adding 10 points versus Purdue (again all after halftime).  Davis is averaging 9.6 points per game on the season and is shooting .419 from 3-point range (13-for-31).  He has made at least two treys in four of his five games and made at least three in three contests. 
• Willie Warren has scored at least 17 points in three of the last four games and netted at least 20 in two of those outings.  The freshman guard ranks second on the team with 30 free throw attempts.

OU Fast Fact 
Despite a rather ordinary .682 team free throw percentage, the Sooners have made 39 more foul shots than their opponents have attempted.  OU is 131-for-192 from the stripe while foes are 62-for-92.  That’s an average of 16.7 more attempts per game than its opposition.   Sophomore forward Blake Griffin has attempted 38 percent of the team’s free throws (73 of its 192).

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
• OU's 6-0 start is its best since the 2003-04 season when it began 10-0.
• The program's No. 6 AP ranking marks its first top-10 standing since Dec. 20, 2005, and its highest AP ranking since Nov. 29, 2005 (was ranked No. 5).  Since the 1989-90 campaign, Oklahoma has been ranked higher in only three seasons (2001-02, 2002-03 and 2005-06).
• The Sooners' 83.8 points per game marks their highest average through the first six games of a season since 1996-97 (86.0 ppg).  They have reached the 80-point mark five times.
• Sophomore Blake Griffin and his brother, senior Taylor Griffin, are a combined 79-for-116 (.681) from the field this year and have paired for 26 of the team's 61 steals (14 by Blake and 12 by Taylor).
• Blake Griffin  has accounted for 31 percent of OU's points, 49 percent of its rebounds and 56 percent of its defensive boards.
• OU made at least six 3-pointers in each of its five games and added four against Purdue in the last outing.  However, it is shooting just .295 from long range on the season.  Last year, OU posted a .348 mark from the shorter 3-point distance.
• Junior guard Tony Crocker is averaging 6.8 points per game on .286 (14-for-49) field goal and .233 (7-for-30) 3-point shooting.  Last year, he averaged 11.3 points and shot .441 and .424, respectively.
• The Sooners have outrebounded each of their six opponents and own a +9.0 margin.  They've outboarded five of their six foes by at least seven rebounds (they were +4 against Gardner-Webb).
• Blake Griffin has registered at least three assists in 15 of 39 career games (four times this year).  He has at least two assists in 24 career contests (five times this season).
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis missed his first career free throw Nov. 18 against Davidson.  He made all 23 of his attempts as a freshman and his first three this year.  He is now 7-for-8 on the season and 30-for-31 (.968) in his career.
• Registering 54 blocked shots over the past two seasons (the most ever during a two-year period by a Sooner standing under 6-foot-8), Taylor Griffin has a team-high 10 rejections already this year.

PREVIEWING USC
• Southern California, which opened the season at No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today version, is unranked after a 5-2 start.
• The Trojans are 4-0 at home with victories over UC Irvine (78-55), New Mexico State (73-60), UT Martin (70-43) and San Francisco (74-69 on Monday).
• USC went 1-2 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Nov. 20-23).  It lost to Seton Hall (63-61), beat Chattanooga (73-46), then lost to Missouri (83-72). 
• It is outscoring opponents by 11.7 points a game and outrebounding them by 10.6.  It is shooting .455 from the field, .293 from 3-point range and .663 from the foul line.
• USC's top three scorers are juniors.  Guard Dwight Lewis averages a team-high 16.6 points and is coming off a 26-point game against San Francisco.  Lewis is shooting .494 from the field and has made a team-high 10 treys on 28 attempts (.357).
• Forward Taj Gibson is averaging 15.7 points and team highs of 11.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots a contest.  He is shooting .554 from the field and has attempted a team-high 45 free throws (shooting .622 from the line).
• Point guard Daniel Hackett, from Italy, contributes 10.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-high 6.1 assists an outing.  He is 9-for-20 (.450) from long range is 26-for-31 (.839) from the free throw line.
• Freshman forward DeMar DeRozan has started all seven games and is averaging 9.7 points and 4.4 boards while shooting .441 from the field and .667 (16-for-24) from the foul line.  He is 0-for-7 on 3-point tries.
• Head coach Tim Floyd is in his fourth year at USC and owns a 69-39 (.639) record there.  He is in his 16th season as a collegiate head coach and sports a 311-169 (.648) career record.  The former Iowa State mentor (1995-98) compiled a 3-3 record against Oklahoma while with the Cyclones.  After four years in Ames, Floyd spent five seasons as an NBA coach with the Chicago Bulls (four) and New Orleans Hornets (one).  He posted a 93-235 (.284) record in the pro ranks.

OKLAHOMA-USC SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma and USC have each won five games in the head-to-head series.  OU leads 3-2 in Norman with victories in 1936 (36-28), 1959 (60-50) and 1962 (66-56), and losses in 1936 (28-27) and 1969 (48-46).  It is 2-3 in Los Angeles with wins in 1958 (70-66) and 1984 (92-91), and defeats in 1963 (66-51), 1968 (76-63) and last season (66-55).

Last year's matchup was part of the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  The 22nd-ranked Trojans held the unranked Sooners to .356 field goal and .296 (8-for-27) 3-point shooting on the night (respective .250 and .143 marks in the first half).  Down 29-18 at intermission, OU fell behind by 15 early in the second half before using an 18-6 run to draw within three at 39-36.  It never got closer, though, as USC freshmen Davon Jefferson (23) and O.J. Mayo (18) combined for 41 points on the game.  Austin Johnson (played with strep throat) and Keith Clark came off the bench to score 13 each for the Sooners.  Blake Griffin and Longar Longar entered the game averaging a combined 27.0 points but were held to seven total points.  Similarly, USC's Daniel Hackett and Taj Gibson entered the contest averaging a combined 24.8 points but were limited to six total.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR
Blake Griffin couldn't be off to a better start in terms of turning his Big 12 Preseason-Player-of-the-Year honor into the league's postseason player-of-the-year award.  The sophomore forward was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday for the third time in three weeks to start the season.  Griffin, who is only the second player in conference history to earn the weekly honor three straight times (Texas Tech's Andre Emmett did it during the 2003-04 campaign), averaged 25.0 points, 18.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in wins over UAB and Purdue to help OU claim the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off title.  Freshman guard Willie Warren was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second straight time after averaging 14.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in OU's two victories.  Warren was the unanimous choice for Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year.

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