Hoops gets back into it tonight when USC begins a four-game homestand, and with the Trojans playing for the first time since their 73-72 loss at Oklahoma taking on Pepperdine at the Galen Center.
Here is a brief preview:
Pepperdine has had a woeful time taking care of the ball, so far they have averaged just under 19 turnovers. The Waves did their best to rebound from the disaster last season when Vance Walberg, the inventor of the dribble-drive offense, resigned. New Coach Tom Asbury, who had taken Pepperdine to the NCAA tournament three times in the process of 125 games, takes over again and brings some optimism back to the program. But it did not help that two standout freshmen from last year, Tyrone Shelley and Malcolm Thomas, who were the two top scorers on the roster, decided to leave the program.
There shouldn't be any excuses for the Trojans not to have focus as they haven't played since the Oklahoma game and don't face another real challenge until a week from now when they go up against Georgia Tech. The only issue for USC may be a little rust when facing their Malibu neighbor. Maybe, but it was Pepperdine who played like it was rusty last time out as the opponent, Pacific, chalked up 16 steals. Such sloppy play won't hold up if Tim Floyd's team has its concentration about it. But there is a back door to be concerned with. USC is not a particularly deep team, and had faltered often in the second half leading to the Oklahoma comeback. This may not be a game which will bring out a heck of a lot of enthusiasm in the Trojan players, and this number may be a bit inflated. But look - Pepperdine shot less than 27% against Arizona State and 36% against BYU. In those two games combined they had exactly ONE player in double figures. So maybe that back door stays closed.
Another piece of good news is that Nikola Vucevic has been cleared by the NCAA so he is sure to see some action tonight though how much he will see and how effective he will be is the big question.
With Marcus Simmons returning to the team SC is getting close to having a deeper bench that in the first part of the season. There is still no word on Marcus Johnson but we should hear something soon.
There is a great story on Dwight Lewis that you give a read.
The game is at 7:30 PST and is on 710 ESPN but not on TV so I won't be online for the thread.
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