CS-Northridge (1-0) at USC (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 12, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Galen Center (10,258) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: CS-Northridge 1-0, USC 0-0. Away Record: CS-Northridge 0-0, USC 0-1. Neutral Record: CS-Northridge 0-0, USC 0-0. Conference Record: CS-Northridge 0-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: USC leads, 5-1.
GAMES NOTES: Andy Enfield will attempt again to capture his first victory as head coach for USC when he leads the Trojans against the CS-Northridge Matadors in a non-conference showdown at the Galen Center.
The Matadors are also under new leadership this year as Reggie Theus was installed as head coach. Theus was brought in after the Matadors suffered four straight losing seasons under long-time head coach Bobby Braswell. In his first game as head coach Theus was able to push the Matadors to an 86-74 victory, though it came against Hope International, a team from outside the Division I ranks. Stephen Maxwell (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Stephan Hicks (20 points, nine rebounds) paced the Matadors in their first win of the season.
After a great deal of excitement in the offseason over Enfield's hiring at USC, the Trojans did not look particularly strong in their first run with the former Florida Gulf Coast head coach on the bench. USC connected on just 36.9 percent from the floor and a miserable 4-of-24 from beyond the arc in suffering a 78-65 road loss to Utah State. Enfield skyrocketed into the national spotlight by leading the 15th-seeded Eagles on a magical run in the NCAA Tournament. Enfield parlayed that success into the job with the Trojans, who have 20 wins combined in the last two seasons.
These teams met at the Galen Center two seasons ago and the Trojans were able to pull out a 66-59 victory in the outing thanks to 16 points apiece from Dewayne Dedmon, Aaron Fuller and Maurice Jones. USC has won five of the six all-time meetings.
Hicks and Maxwell combined to account for more than 30 points and 15 rebounds per game a year ago and the duo picked up where they left off in the season opener. In the game the two combined to take 30 of the team's 58 field goal attempts, amassing 43 points. Josh Greene scored at a 14.5 points per game clip last season as another potent scorer for the Matadors, who have no shortage of offensive weapons this year. Greene turned in 16 points and also handed out five assists in the win over Hope International. Clearly the offensive end of the floor was not an area that Theus really need to address but on defense the Matadors were extremely weak last year, letting up 74.6 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting. In the tune up against Hope International the Matadors didn't really seem to have improved much as despite a 12-point victory the Matadors still allowed their foes to hit 48.1 percent of their field goal attempts, including 10-of-20 from beyond the arc.
The 'Dunk City' mantra that Enfield instilled at FGCU may take a while to get going at USC. The Trojans in no way resemble the high-flying attack that the Eagles had last season. Enfield is relying on a talented trio of guards to run his fast-paced offense. Two are holdovers from last season in J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley. Terrell scored 20 points in the loss to Utah State, while Wesley added 15, while handing our four assists. Wesley struggled with his shot though, as did the Trojans as a team. Wesley knocked down just 6-of-18 field goal attempts and was one of the principle offenders that led to the Trojans' struggles on the offensive end. Pe'Shon Howard, a transfer from Maryland (four points, four assists) didn't factor much in the decision as he had just one field goal on seven attempts. Omar Oraby (15 points, nine rebounds) nearly recorded a double-double.
The Trojans will have to kick it up a notch on the offensive end if they want to keep up with the Matadors. That shouldn't be too much of an issue against CS-Northridge, which still seems to be a team without much direction on defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 79, CS-Northridge 72
11/12 10:35:36 ET