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GameDay Open Thread: USC vs. Idaho State

USC Trojans vs. Idaho State, December 11, 2009 7:30 PST

Yet again, tonight's contest won't be televised so the only way you're going to watch ‘SC hoops is if you subscribe to Trojans all-access or head down to Jefferson and Figueroa for some live action. Despite the fact that five of the first seven games so far have been at home, the Trojans have yet to win consecutive games so tonight's matchup with the Bengals should provide an interesting test. Here's the preview from the official team site:

The USC Trojans (3-4) will face the Idaho State Bengals (2-7) on Dec. 11 in the Galen Center at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on It will also air live on USC radio flagship sister station KGIL 1260 AM with Rory Markas and Jim Hefner calling the action.

SCOUTING THE BENGALS -- The Idaho State Bengals are 2-7 this season after falling 79-67 at home to Boise State on Dec. 9. ISU was 13-19 last season, but return 4 starters and 8 lettermen. They have wins this season vs. Colorado Christian and at UMKC. ISU's leading scorers through 9 games are Amorrow Morgan (15.3), Broderick Gilchrest (13.1) and Demetrius Monroe (11.7). USC leads the all-time series 4-0, winning the last meeting 77-68 on Nov. 28, 1980.

USC DEFEATS SACRAMENTO STATE -- USC defeated Sacramento State 51-36 at the Galen Center on Dec. 8 to snap a three-game losing streak. The Trojans committed a season-high 25 turnovers, but held the Hornets to 23.0 percent shooting to secure the victory. USC recorded 12 blocks in the game, tying the school record set in 1982. Nikola Vucevic (14 points/15 rebounds) and Alex Stepheson (10 points/10 rebounds) both registered double-doubles.

Just a few more things to keep in mind before you all get carried away in the comments section:

1.) Idaho State isn't the typical 2-7 team. Despite a rather pedestrian record, the Bengals have played a tough schedule so far that has included the likes of Bradley, BYU, Notre Dame, and Utah. As a result, their experience against some of the nation's tougher foes should make their matchup with the Trojans all the more competitive.

2.) The Trojans must protect the ball. According to an article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, the Trojans have committed 61 turnovers in the past three games alone, and they presently rank second to last in the Pac-10 in turnovers per-game average with 16.9. These numbers need to drastically improve if ‘SC is to be competitive in the conference so it would certainly be refreshing to see the Trojans significantly improve in the taking care of the ball, especially after their 25-turnover game against Sacramento State on Tuesday.

3.) They must continue to dominate the glass. Since the return of Alex Stepheson two weeks ago, the Trojans have out-rebounded all of their opponents, including second ranked Texas and twenty-third ranked Georgia Tech. If the trend continues, it's hard to imagine the Trojans losing to less talented foes such as Idaho State.

4.) Dwight Lewis needs another big game. I said this in my last post, but just to reiterate - if the Trojans intend on maximizing their potential as a team this year and finish in the top half of the Pac-10, than they will need Dwight Lewis to become a legitimate number one scoring threat. This team needs an individual with Lewis's talent and ability to create his own shot and lift the team on offense down the stretch. The Georgia Tech game in which Lewis played six minutes and failed to score a single point raised question marks regarding Lewis, but if he can bounce back with another solid couple of games (i.e. scoring close to 20 points), then there is reason for ‘SC fans to be confident in his abilities once again.

Leave your thoughts on tonight's matchup below.

Fight On! Beat the Bengals!