Kevin O'Neill's young, and in many ways, gassed team will play the final game of a daunting opening slate (its eighth game in a span of 17 days) against TCU Monday night. For much of the early portion of the season, 'SC has traveled a sort of up-and-down road, which in many ways, has been defined by the 20s. It has posted a 27-point home win against Cal State Fullerton a week after being embarrassed at home by Rider. And on Saturday, it blew a 20-point first half lead to Nebraska, before falling 60-58. To use the phrase, "a roller coaster ride" to describe the early part of the 2010-2011 would certainly suffice.
A win tonight, however, would give 'SC its fifth victory of the season despite utilizing a bench of just two players in Garrett Jackson and Donte Smith. Yes, the Trojans have been using a seven-man rotation, which hasn't exactly been paying dividends.
In the meanwhile, here's a brief summary of USC's current two-game roadtrip through the midwest. Per USCTrojans.com:
BREAKING DOWN TCU -- TCU is 4-2 after defeating Houston at home 79-63 on Nov. 27. The Horned Frogs are 3-0 at home this season. Junior guard Ronnie Moss leads TCU in scoring with an average of 15.7 points per game. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
TALE OF TWO HALVES AT NEBRASKA -- USC led by as many as 20 points in the 1st half and took a 13-point lead at the break, but host Nebraska responded with a dominating 2nd half to defeat USC 60-58 in Lincoln, Neb. on Nov. 27. The Cornhuskers ended the 1st half on a 9-2 run and continued it into the 2nd half when they outscored USC 34-19. Nebraska went on a 17-3 run early in the 2nd half to make it a game and took it's first lead at 56-55 with 4:47 left. They built the lead to five points, but USC cut it to two points and Maurice Jones was able to lauch a long three at the buzzer which just caught rim. USC shot 56.7 percent from the field in the 1st half and 27.6 percent in the 2nd half. Nebraska hit 58.3 percent of its shots in the 2nd half.
Today's game is set for 5 p.m. PST, and will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (channel 616 on DirectTV). I'll be watching the game and commenting sporadically, for what can hopefully be a nice way to cap off the early portion of the season.