What to Watch:
Home Debut - After a 78-65 loss on the road against a tough Utah State squad, Andy Enfield and the USC Trojans return to Los Angeles to make their debut in front of the home crowd. The Trojans will take on Cal State Northridge, who won its opener against Hope International, 86-74.
Tempo - All the talk in the offseason was about the uptempo offensive scheme that Enfield was bringing with him from Florida Gulf Coast. But in the season opener, it was Utah State that did more running. Why? USC didn't force turnovers. The predecessor of a fast break offense is an active defense that causes deflections and steals that turn into those quick transition baskets. Instead, Utah State had only seven turnovers.
Defensive Adjustments - Along with trying to create more turnovers, Enfield will have to scheme up some defensive adjustments to slow down the opposition because Utah State was able to get several open looks. The Aggies shot 48 percent from the floor while USC shot only 37 percent.
Get the Ball Inside - Omar Oraby had 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but the Trojans didn't work the ball through him enough in the half-court offense. When Oraby touched the ball, the offense was much more efficient. And unlike most big men, when he gets hacked, he is a strong free throw shooter.
Hands Up - With the NCAA's rule changes to help open up the game, more fouls are being called by officials. This could be a concern playing against Northridge after the Matadors have put up two of the best team free throw percentages in school history the last two seasons, including a school record .755 percentage in 2011-12. They continued that strong shooting in the first game of this season -- producing the sixth-best free throw shooting performance in NCAA history.
Know Thy Enemy - Cal State Northridge won its opener against Hope International by knocking down free throws. The Matadors were an absurd 97 percent from the charity stripe, setting a school record by making 32-of-33, including 13-of-14 in the final six and a half minutes after Hope International had gone on a 17-4 run to trim a 19-point lead down to six.
The Matadors are coached by former NBA player Reggie Theus, who is in his first season with the school. The Big West squad is led by Josh Greene, Stephen Maxwell and Stephan Hicks. The trio combined for 59 points and 22 rebounds in the opener. They have scored more than 2,500 points in their careers, including 44.8 points per game last season. The three were hoping to be bolstered by the transfers of Amir Garrett (St. John's) and Kevin Johnson (Seton Hall), but the NCAA has yet to approve their waiver to be eligible immediately.
In their season opener, the Matadors only had seven points off the bench as they rely heavily on their starters. Rounding out the Matadors starting lineup are sophomores Tre Hale-Edmerson and Landon Drew, the brother of former UCLA point guard Larry Drew.
Where to Watch:
Game Time, TV channel: 8:00 p.m. PST, Pac-12 Network
Radio: USC - 690 AM; Cal State Northridge - GoMatadors.com
Odds & More:
Odds and Wagers: Latest Odds from Bovada: Cal State Northridge +6/USC -6, Over/Under N/A