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USC vs. Mercer Team/Game Preview

Please Welcome TrojanNYC's AO to the main page here at Conquest Chronicles. AO will helping his out during basketball season. His extensive knowledge of both USC Hoops and Hoops in general is a welcome addition and he will be a big help for us as the season progresses. He starts us off with a game preview of SC's season opener against Mercer. Welcome AO! - Paragon

USC - Team Preview

Probable Starting Five:

1 - Angelo Johnson, FR: Lightning quick guard that can penetrate and is active defensively. Played a little hesitant in the intrasquad game, but that's expected from freshmen guards.
2 - OJ Mayo, FR: Might see a lot of time at the PG spot if Angelo struggles. Lights out scorer that plays a very mature and methodical game. Already has a NBA caliber jump shot that is nearly unblockable.
3 - Dwight Lewis, SO: Most underrated player on the team. Penetrates surprisingly well and can hit the three, but needs to quicken up his release. Can score in bunches when given the chance.
4 - Davon Jefferson, FR: Still isn't 100% from a sprained knee injury, so you might see a Gibson/Wilkinson combo. Davon can jump out the gym and plays primarily a face-up game but can also finish around the rim. Very dangerous in transition.
5 - Taj Gibson, SO: Not much I need to say here, Taj was one of the best freshmen in the country last year. He added ~15lb of solid muscle to his frame in the off-season which will help his inside game. Also has a surprisingly consistent outside jumper.

USC vs. Mercer - Game Preview

When: Saturday, Nov. 10 @ 1 PM (PST)
Where: Galen Center
Watch: TrojanTV

Mercer's strength lies in the backcourt with the all-conference duo of James Florence (Atlantic Sun FOY) and Shaddean Aaron (Claremont High); both players averaged over 15 ppg last season and went 23 and 15, respectively, in their opening exhibition game. Should be entertaining to watch their backcourt match up against Angelo/OJ. This should also be our 1st opportunity in seeing Marcus Simmons working his lock-down defensive skills against a primary scorer. I wouldn't be surprised to see Marcus start at the 2 and OJ at the 1.

On the wing, we'll see Dwight Lewis who might be the difference maker in this game. We all expect OJ and Taj to get their points, but Dwight might be that 3rd player that opens this game up. As I mentioned earlier, DL is the most overlooked player on our squad and has the ability to really put points on the board. He will match-up against Calvin Henry, a versatile forward that can play inside/outside.

When looking at Mercer's frontcourt, the first thing you notice is their size down low: Brian Pfohl (6'7 230lb SR), Sam Dolan (6'8 245lb SR), and Justin Davis (6'9 240lb FR). None of the three are big scorers, so I see this being a big advantage for SC since Taj and Davon will be able to give them fits on the offensive end and not have to worry so much defensively.

In terms of a prediction, I'm going to say that this game will likely be closer than people think. I think most SC fans expect OJ to go off and the team to win in a blow-out, but let's keep in mind that the development of this team has been slowed due to injuries and you can never expect things to go perfectly when you start 3 freshmen. I see a rough 1st half with the team putting it together late and pulling away for the win. I got OJ going for 30+ this game.