Given USC's recent slide and general inexperience sprinkled across its starting backcourt, tonight's contest against No. 19 Texas doesn't inspire much confidence. In recent weeks, the Trojans suffered a 20-point home loss to unranked Rider, as well as an 0-2 Midwest roadtrip against Nebraska and TCU.
The Longhorns, on the other hand, have lost just once thus far, a two-point defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh in the finals of the 2K Sports Classic, and with the exception of No. 4 Kansas, are in all likelihood, the best the Big XII has to offer. With an experienced head coach in Rick Barnes, who has led UT to 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and a rostered cluttered with talent, it certainly appears as if they have the upper hand. That's plainly evident. And speaking of talent, local product Jordan Hamilton, who played high school basketball at Dominguez in Compton, Calif., is averaging 22.7 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game and shooting almost 50 percent from 3-point range.
But under Kevin O'Neill's watch, USC has played well against high-caliber opponents. A year ago, the Trojans upended four tournament teams in California, St. Mary's, Tennessee and Washington (note: the Pac-10 had just two tournament bound teams). Hopefully, there can be similar success tonight.