clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

USC Basketball vs. Portland State: What to Watch, TV Schedule, Odds and More

USC will open the season against Portland State on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Nikola Jovanovic is a key for the Trojans in the low post.
Nikola Jovanovic is a key for the Trojans in the low post.
Shotgun Spratling/Conquest Chronicles

What to Watch:

"Youth Will Be Served" - That's what USC's media guide cover reads with four freshmen and sophomore on a serving dish. The Trojans are playing up their youth as something exciting. "YOUNGEST TEAM IN THE PAC-12!" and "11 OF 14 PLAYERS ARE FRESHMAN OR SOPHOMORES!" is emblazoned beside the players in a comic book font. There are a ton of new faces (and a lot of talent), but there are going to be some growing pains.

In last weekend's exhibition, Andy Enfield started three freshmen and there were some first-game jitters as USC fell behind 14-1. The freshmen have said this week that the nervousness is now gone, but we won't know for sure until the lights are shining down full stream.

No. 12 Recruiting Class - Enfield and his coaching staff have been hard at work on the recruiting trail since taking over at USC. That materialized in the most impressive recruiting class since Tim Floyd was at the helm of the Trojans. USC brought in four top 100 recruits, including highly touted point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who the coaches think is a program changer. Overall the Trojans' recruiting class was ranked No. 12 by Scout and No. 16 by ESPN.

A New Beginning - Not only has USC infused the roster with freshman talent, but the Trojans will also feature a pair of redshirt sophomore transfers in Darion Clark and Katin Reinhardt. Clark, a 6'7" power forward, comes from Charlotte where he started 18 games as a true freshman, averaging 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds. Reinhardt is a 6'6" sharpshooter, who played his freshman season at UNLV. He started 34 games for a top 25 program, averaging 10.1 points and passing out 86 total assists.

Veteran Guard PlayJordan McLaughlin and the USC guards will have their hands full tonight. Portland State features a trio of senior guards that lead the way for the Vikings. Gary Winston was second team All-Big Sky after averaging 11.3 points while Tim Douglas, from Cerritos, Calif., averaged 11.8 points last season and led the team in assists and steals. But the most dangerous of the group may be DaShaun Wiggins. Despite coming off the bench, Wiggins led the team scoring 12.9 points per game last year. He was the Big Sky 6th Man of the Year as he is instant offense coming off the bench.

Healthy Ankles? - Portland State junior forward Collin Spickerman was expected to start for the Vikings heading into the season, but he has been out for a couple of weeks with an ankle sprain. The former NWAACC West Region Most Valuable Player at Clark College didn't play in Portland State's exhibition against Linfield last week, but his replacement Braxton Tucker had a big game, scoring 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting and five rebounds.

Frontcourt Depth - USC only has four post players. It's part of the reason we ranked the four bigs higher in our Most Important Player list. Sophomore Nikola Jovanovic leads the way. He's added some weight. (Andy Enfield said 20 pounds. Jovanovic has said "like maybe 10.") He's grown an inch for the second year in a row and he's worked on his post moves knowing he was going to be relied on to play the five this season rather than the four like he did last year.

With only one 6'8" forward and one 6'10" center, Portland State doesn't necessarily have the height to give USC issues, but if Jovanovic or 6'11" Malik Martin gets in foul trouble, the Trojans are going to be without a size advantage. Andy Enfield used a four-guard lineup along with Darion Clark for a very short span during the exhibition last week, but that's not the Trojans' preferred lineup.


Last Matchup:

Jan. 20, 1978 - USC 87-78 (@ Los Angeles Sports Arena). Trojan great Cliff Robinson had an absolute monster game to lead USC to the victory. He scored 35 points on 16-for-28 shooting (pre-three-point line) and grabbed 28 rebounds. But Robinson's 35 points were even a game high. Portland State legend Freeman Williams finished with 49 points on 53 shots (23-for-53)!

Where to Watch:

Game Time, TV channel: 7:30 p.m. PST, Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson, Jon Crispin)

Radio: USC: ESPN 710 AM (Chris Fisher, Jordan Moore); Portland State: None (USC radio feed at

Follow Along: Gametracker; USC Twitter - @USC_Hoops; Portland State Twitter - @PSU_Vikings

Odds & More:

Odds and Wagers: Latest Odds: USC -10.5, Over/Under: 153 points

Projected Starting Lineups:

G - Jordan McLaughlin (6-1 freshman)
G - Katin Reinhardt (6-6 sophomore)
G - Elijah Stewart (6-5 freshman)
F - Darion Clark (6-7 sophomore)
F - Nikola Jovanovic (6-11 freshman)

Portland State
G - Tim Douglas (5-10 senior)
G - Gary Winston (6-0 senior)
G - Bryce White (6-5 sophomore)
F - Tiegbe Bamba (6-6 senior)
F - Braxton Tucker (6-6 sophomore)