UCSB @ USC Preview
Sunday, December 17, 2017, 5:00 PST
By the Numbers;
USC Rankings: UCSB Rankings:
DC2: 61 DC2: 79
RPI: 77, RPI SOS: 58 RPI: 32, RPI SOS: 149
Pomeroy: 28 Pomeroy: 139
The Gauchos travel down the smoky 101 to take on the uber talented &
athletic USC Trojans which started the season ranked as high as #10 in
some polls but now are unranked at 5-3. USC easily handled Santa Clara
Thursday night in the Galen Center leading by about 20 most of the game
and winning 82-59. The Trojans are considered a disappointment so far
and as they were picked #10, I suppose that is reasonable. Still, their
three losses are to teams all ranked in the top 30 Pomeroy; Texas
A&M, SMU and Oklahoma.
Shared Opponents: UCSB defeated N. Dakota State in
their home & season opener by 19. Two nights later the Jackrabbits
gave the Trojans a scare in LA, leading by as much as 10 before foul
trouble led to an end-of-game surge by SC and the Trojans won by 10.
Both teams lost handily to Texas A&M, the Gauchos by 19 on the road,
USC by 16 in the Galen Center.
The Arena: The Galen Center opened in 2006, seats
10,258. They are averaging about 3900 fans per game this season. From
all I’ve heard, it’s a beautiful arena and I’m looking forward to my
first visit there.
Despite their three losses, when the Trojans win, they have so
decisively. They are scoring at 77 pt clip while holding their
opponents to 69. They are shooting at a .432 clip, .369 from three.
They attempt 22.4 three pointers per game, a bit surprising to me given
the strength of their front court. UCSB attempts about 20 per game.
This will be their 6th home game, they are 4-1 at home.
Contributing to their relatively poor start is the absence of Sophomore
SG De’Anthony Melton who is being forced to sit by the USC admin while
they investigate a possible improper payment. Also absent is sophomore
guard Derryck Thornton who has been injured. I’m not sure of the status
of either player for Sunday but they are both impact players so UCSB
catches a break if they are not available.
USC’s has some fantastic talent across the roster but the cream of the
crop is projected first round draft pick 6’11” F/C Chimezi Mehtu who
leads the team in scoring with 16.1ppg and in rebounding 8.5 pg. He has
terrific quicks for a big and will be a great challenge for Canty and
Ami to defend.
At the other forward spot is another talented player in 6’10” Bennie
Boatwright who is averaging 15.5 and 8.3. At times he has been a major
star and carried the Trojans through SC’s terrific 26 win season last
year. At times he’s been pretty quiet. He is similar to King, can
rebound well and shoot the three, but not as well, .313
PG Jordan McGlauglin (6’1” 185 lb) has been a stud for the Trojans this
year, shooting lights out from both within and beyond the arc while
leading the team with 6.8 apg and pulling 4.3 boards per game. He’ll be
a handful and I’m hoping that our defense can step up the same way it
did against USD’s Isiah Wright
Senior Guard/wing Elijah Stewart, 6’5” 195 lb is a three point threat, shooting 17-40.
Another Sophomore Guard Jonah Mathews (6’3” 195) contributes a solid 8.4
ppg, 3.6 rpg and shoots .407 from three. There’s no weak link in their
6’11” Sophomore F/C Nick Racocevic is a terrific player that would be
starting on most D1 teams. USC just happens to have Mehtu in front of
him. He’s tough and the depth he gives USC in the front court will make
things tough for our bigs.
6’7” RS Jr Wing Shaqquan Aaron seems to be a role player and plays significant minutes.
Match-up, prediction: USC played terrific in their win over Santa Clara
and may be finding their stride. Pasternack and his staff have
impressed me in their ability to prepare for different teams so I give
the Gauchos much more of a chance than I would have thought at the
season start. Much depends upon the health of Jackson, if his hip is
less bothersome and he can limit the impact of Mclaughlin, that will
certainly help. Regardless, I have a lot of faith in the Gaucho
starters and if the refs don’t take our bigs out of the game, I think
this game remains close til late. I do think the depth of the SC front
court will take its toll and the Trojans will pull away in the end. USC
77 UCSB 72. Prove me wrong Gauchos!
USC Fun Fact: USC has played in two Final Fours, 1940 and 1954
Official Site: http://usctrojans.com/index.aspx?path=mbball
Hey Guys! (with my preview of UCSB): https://wearesc.com/forum/index.php?forums/usc-hoops.4/
How to Watch: For you So Cal locals, get to the Galen Center and watch it in person! For the rest of you, Pac 12 Network