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By Nick Ellis / Special to the Californian
BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer email@example.com
Oh for 13.
Games against Pac-12 opponents have not gone well for Cal State Bakersfield in men's basketball.
CSUB's games vs. Pac-12 teams
Dec. 13, 1976: Washington St. 85, CSUB 62
Dec. 3, 1977: Cal 91, CSUB 75
Dec. 16, 1980: Washington St. 61, CSUB 53
Nov. 24, 1999: Stanford 72, CSUB 31
Dec. 11, 2007: Oregon St. 77, CSUB 53 (at Bak)
Jan. 26, 2009: Oregon St. 65, CSUB 59
Feb. 10, 2009: Stanford 85, CSUB 50
Nov. 20, 2009: UCLA 75, CSUB 64
Dec. 6, 2009: Oregon St. 74, CSUB 39
Jan. 2, 2011: Colorado 85, CSUB 73 (at Bak)
Nov. 12, 2011: Oregon St. 86, CSUB 62
Dec. 19, 2011: Colorado 70, CSUB 64
Nov. 8, 2013: Washington St. 62, CSUB 56
Nov. 29, 1972: Arizona 94, CSUB 87; Arizona was a WAC member until joining the then-Pac-10 in 1978.
CSUB (5-5) at USC (6-3)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: USC's Galen Center
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: 1180 AM
Series: First meeting
Of note: This is the second of five straight road games for CSUB, which doesn't return home until the WAC opener Jan. 4 vs. Utah Valley.
The Roadrunners will try for their first win over a Pac-12 opponent tonight when CSUB plays at USC starting at 7 p.m.
This game is catching CSUB at a rough time. The Roadrunners have lost four straight after beginning the season 5-1. That one early loss was against Pac-12 member Washington State, a 62-56 defeat in CSUB's season opener.
Bakersfield will also be short-handed tonight. Senior guard Zach Lamb and junior 6-foot-11 center Zech Smith both have ankle injuries and are not expected to play.
This is the second game CSUB (5-5) has had vs. a Pac-12 team this season. The Roadrunners opened the season losing 62-56 at Washington State, a game where CSUB hit only 11 of 28 free throws.
"We had our chances against Washington State but we didn't finish it," CSUB coach Rod Barnes said.
"I think this (tonight) will be good for us. Hopefully our guys will be excited about the opportunity to play against a team like this. All of our guys want to see how they measure up against the Pac-12, the best conference on the West Coast. It's a great measuring stick for us."
The game will be telecast live on the Pac-12 Network, which is another reason it's a good opportunity for CSUB, Barnes said.
"This will help us raise our level," Barnes said. "We get exposure playing on TV. Other players and recruits see it and they'll follow us. That's the only way you make it at this level."
Barnes said he initiated the telephone call to USC that led to the Trojans adding Bakersfield to their schedule.
"Every year we are going to play these type of teams, San Diego State, Cal, UCLA or USC."
It's not difficult having a Pac-12 team on CSUB's schedule, Barnes said, if the Roadrunners are willing to play on the road.
"We're trying to build our resume and build our program," Barnes said.
USC, which is led by first-year coach Andy Enfield, is 6-3.
The aura of a Pac-12 member is daunting for opponents from lesser conferences. But Barnes fully expects a solid performance by the Roadrunners.
"We're no longer intimidated or surprised or shocked by these teams," he said. "We prepare like it's a normal game. It's a good opportunity for us to prove to ourselves that we can play with teams like this."
Barnes added: "Most of the guys from the West Coast who are very good players want to go to Pac-12 schools. They have great talent, great size, they play against a high level of competition and they understand what it means when a team like our's comes in. ...
"We're going into a big-time arena against a high profile team from a great conference."
This will be CSUB's first ever men's basketball game against the Trojans and the 10th game vs. a Pac-12 team since Bakersfield moved to the Division I level in 2007.
CSUB's first three games against current Pac-12 members occurred from 1976-1980 when the Roadrunners were a Division II program.