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NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | USC REPORT

Two games present one big problem for this dad

March 15, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

There's no right answer, really. Or at least not an easy one.

Should Andrew "Bull" Stewart attend his son Rodrick's first-round NCAA tournament game involving top-seeded Kansas, or his son Lodrick's game involving fifth-seeded USC? The identical twins play on the same day in arenas separated by roughly 1,800 miles.

"If he goes to my brother's game and we lose, he doesn't get to see me play in the NCAA tournament," said Lodrick, a senior guard who will make his postseason debut Friday in Spokane, Wash., when the Trojans play 12th-seeded Arkansas.

Rodrick is a junior, having sat out the 2005-06 season following his transfer from USC, so he figures to have another shot at the NCAA tournament next season. Plus, he rarely plays for the Jayhawks, averaging 5.8 minutes per game.

By comparison, Lodrick averages 14 points as the Trojans' second-leading scorer.

"It's not about me playing more or scoring more points, it's about him supporting his kids," Lodrick said. "That's what every parent is about."

Bull Stewart told Lodrick he would attend USC's game. His decision could have been influenced by the fact that Kansas is expected to at least reach the Sweet 16 and the Trojans would do well to reach the second round.

"He doesn't want to miss either one of us playing, but it's going to be a situation where he's going to have to take a gamble and hope that both teams win," Lodrick said.

Lodrick, who played for Seattle Rainier Beach High, expects to have a large contingent of friends and family in Spokane, which is a short plane ride from his hometown. Among the family members expected to attend is his 2-year-old son, Jaylin.

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Five teams seeded lower than USC in the East Regional have better Ratings Percentage Index figures.

Fifth-seeded USC has an RPI of 47, which is worse than that of sixth-seeded Vanderbilt (46), seventh-seeded Boston College (32), eighth-seeded Marquette (22), ninth-seeded Michigan State (24) and Arkansas (35).

The Trojans apparently were rewarded for finishing in a tie for third place in the competitive Pacific 10 Conference and compiling an 7-4 record against ranked teams.

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Moving back into the rankings this week might have been a bad omen for USC. The Trojans are 2-5 as a ranked team.... Tickets for the sold-out session involving USC on Friday at Spokane Arena were selling for between $80 and $175 on Wednesday afternoon on ticketsnow.com.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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