USC is coming off a resounding home victory, but as seen earlier this season, that doesn't necessarily equate to success in the game following. On Nov. 15, the Trojans toppled visiting Santa Clara by a score of 86-73; yet, two days later were routed by 20 points in a matchup with Rider. Hopefully today, however, as the Trojans take to the road to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers, they can instead "build off" their latest win over Cal State Fullerton, an 81-54 rout, instead of taking another step backwards.
But Nebraska isn't an easy team to beat at home. They aren't a top-flight Big XII program such as Kansas or Baylor, but at the very least, USC doesn't have the luxury of coasting against a power-conference school this earlier in the season, especially when they were just 2-9 on the road a year ago. In essence, road wins are tough to come by.
Nebraska's lone two losses in 2010 came in Puerto Rico against Vanderbilt and Davidson, and had previously opened the year by routing South Dakota and Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Granted, they've largely played inferior competition at home, but USC doesn't have much room to relax following two losses to Rider and Bradley and a three-point loss to the Huskes a year ago at Galen Center.
The hope, however, is that the Trojans' latest win becomes indicative of a larger trend, particularly in regards to offense. Per SB Nation Los Angeles:
The Trojans dropped in 52.7 percent of their attempts from the floor and 6- of-12 from beyond the arc, as they pulled away for an 81-54 win over Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. USC converted 17-of-24 free-throw attempts as well and dominated the boards, 41-29. Maurice Jones led the way with a solid all-around effort consisting of 20 points, five assists and four steals. Bryce Jones tacked on 15 points and Nikola Vucevic posted a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Defense is a staple for Kevin O'Neill-coached teams. Defensive field goal percentage is typically amongst the best in the country and the rebounding totals are pretty high as well - having Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic will generally help.
But success in 2011 is going to hinge on how the offense performs. Against Rider, it was pitiful, and 20-point loss ensued. But in 'SC's four wins thus far, it's gotten tremendous production from all starters, particularly freshman guards Bryce Jones and Maurice Jones.
The defense will need to keep playing well, but similarly, the offense will need to be incredibly efficient, especially when you consider the team's short seven-man rotation.
This your game thread, and for the first time this season, the game will be televised on FSN. So, if you're not going to be at the Coliseum this afternoon, feel free to share your thoughts on the game below.