Two local winners display their prowess on TV this weekend. USC, leading the Pac 10 Conference, plays Arizona today at noon (Channels 5 and 51). On Sunday the Lakers, leading the NBA Western Division, play their old nemesis, the Boston Celtics, in a game to be seen at 12:45 p.m. on Channels 2 and 8.
The Trojans are now in that unfamiliar posture, where basketball is concerned, of being a winning West Coast school. With the exception of UCLA during the great John Wooden regime, when the Bruins dominated major schools on both coasts, West Coast colleges have long had to fight the influential Eastern media for basketball recognition.
Whenever St. John's, Georgetown, Memphis State, Duke, Syracuse, et al. win, it's front-page stuff in the East. Sportswriters seem to treat these stories with the importance of Presidential news conferences.
What every Trojan fan--and all college basketball fans on the West Coast, for that matter--must do now is root USC home to the NCAA finals and a chance to win it all. Then the Eastern scribes will have to take notice of a power out West.
There may be doubts about Jerry Buss' millions, but there's no doubts about his having a several-million-dollar team on the Forum floor Sunday. The Lakers have had the talent to overcome many adversities, making coach Pat Riley a mixture of psychiatrist and basketball technician.
Every time the Celtics and Lakers tangle, it conjures up memories of those glorious days of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Rudy Larusso, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman . . . and of the night when then-owner Jack Kent Cooke loaded up the ceiling with victory balloons that were to descend when the Lakers defeated the Celtics for the title. They were to remain there when the camera caught smiling Bill Russell walking off the court, looking up at the stationary balloons at the same time as he was pointing and indicating that the Celtics were again No. 1 that year.
But now the Celtics and Lakers are in the era of Kareem, Magic and the Bird, making the memories we will be talking about years hence.
The USFL season start is still a week away, but the league, as first promised last season, is now experimenting with the use of taped replays to decide controversial calls.
The use is limited somewhat, coaches being allowed only one challenge in each half. And during a New Jersey-Tampa Bay exhibition a couple of weeks ago, the calls had to be restricted to fumbles, a receiver's possession on out-of-bounds plays and on whether a receiver had crossed the goal line.
The only challenge came in the second half, concerning a fumble being made before a player hit the turf. The tape confirmed that the official had correctly called the play a fumble.
It wasn't much use of tape replay's potential, but it's a start. ABC is not keen about its usage, but a lot of USFL coaches are. And there's a lot of interest in the NFL, including that on the part of Super Bowl champion coach Bill Walsh.
ROUNDUP: Today, Basketball, LSU vs. Syracuse, 11 a.m. (2) (8) . . . Pro Skiing, All-American Classic, noon (11) . . . Basketball, Nevada-Las Vegas vs. UC Irvine, noon (4) . . . Basketball, Notre Dame vs. Duke, noon (36) (39) . . . Sports Saturday, 1 p.m. (2) (8) . . . Tennis, International Players Championships, 1 p.m. (7) (3) (10) (42) . . . Pro Bowlers Tour, 3 p.m. (7) (3) (10) (42) . . . Golf, San Diego Open, 4 p.m. (4) (36) . . . Wide World of Sports, Harlem Globetrotters, 4:30 p.m. (7) (3) (42) . . . Basketball, Arizona State vs. UCLA, 8 p.m. delayed (5).
SUNDAY: Auto Racing, Daytona 500, 9 a.m. (2) (8) . . . Basketball, DePaul vs. St. John's, 11 a.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Tennis, International men's finals, 12:30 p.m. (7) (3) (10) . . . Golf, San Diego Open finals, 1 p.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Wide World of Sports, 3 p.m. (7) (3) (10) . . . NBA Basketball, Clippers vs. Hawks, 7 p.m. (WTBS).