USC (6-9) at Colorado (10-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coors Events Center (11,064) -- Boulder, Colorado. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USC 5-4, Colorado 6-0. Away Record: USC 0-3, Colorado 1-4. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, Colorado 3-0. Conference Record: USC 1-1, Colorado 0-2. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.
GAMES NOTES: The Colorado Buffaloes and the USC Trojans will face off on Thursday night in a Pac-12 Conference matchup at the Coors Events Center.
After two narrow wins to begin a three-game homestand, USC fell to instate foe California, 72-64 on Saturday. The loss dropped the Trojans to 6-9 this season and ended their first two-game winning streak since November. USC will end a short two-game road stint on Saturday against USC.
Colorado is returning from a two-game trip to the Grand Canyon State where they lost in controversial fashion, 92-83 in overtime, to Arizona and followed than with a 65-56 defeat to Arizona State. After the two setbacks the Buffaloes are now 10-4 overall this season. A return home should be a welcome sight for Colorado which is 6-0 at the Coors Events Center this season. Colorado will host UCLA next.
Last season Colorado routed USC, 74-50 in Los Angeles in the first meeting between the teams as conference foes. This is the first meeting in Boulder between the squads since 1968 when Colorado won 74-54. The all-time series is tied 3-3.
USC was unable to match California's production from the free-throw line or from beyond the arc in the Trojans' loss. The Golden Bears outscored USC 21-8 from the charity stripe and 15-6 from long distance to earn the win despite having five more turnovers and four fewer field goals.
If the Trojans hope to turn the season around they need to improve on the offensive end of the floor. USC is the lowest scoring team in the Pac-12 (63.3 ppg) and the second worst shooting squad (.422 FG percentage). The Trojans also rank at the bottom of the conference in rebounding (34.4 pg). Eric Wise (11.7 ppg) is the only player on the roster averaging in double figures and has been doing so by shooting an impressive 51.5 percent from the field. Jio Fontan (8.9 ppg, 5.3 apg) is the primary ball-handler and has opportunities to produce at a higher level in terms of scoring but he has struggled with his shot (.309 FG percentage).
Colorado struggled to find its shot, especially from beyond the arc, against Arizona State. The Buffaloes connected on just 35.3 percent from the floor, including a 2-of-19 effort from 3-point range. The Buffaloes were also outscored by a sizable 20-6 margin from the free-throw line.
Although certainly not an offensive juggernaut, Colorado has had much more success on that end of the floor than the Trojans. The Buffaloes are scoring 72.6 points per game and shooting 46.2 percent from the field, with both of those marks near the middle of the pack in the conference. Four different players are scoring in double figures. All five starters at least 20 minutes per game, with only two reserves playing more than 10. Askia Booker (14.9 ppg) and Spencer Dinwiddie (14.5 ppg) are the top scoring options, while Pac-12 leading rebounder Andre Roberson (11.4 ppg, 12.1 rpg) anchors the interior.
With Roberson manning the inside and Dinwiddie and Booker taking care of things from the perimeter the Buffaloes should get back in the win column against the Trojans.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado 79, USC 66
01/10 10:35:56 ET