What to Watch:
"Youth Will Be Served" - The Trojans started two freshmen in their season opening loss to Portland State. Jordan McLaughlin and Malik Martin became the first pair of freshmen to start a season opener since Maurice Jones and Bryce Jones in 2010-11. McLaughlin had 19 points and six assists, but did turn the ball over seven times. Martin finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Freshmen Malik Marquetti and Elijah Stewart also saw significant time, combining for 25 minutes of game action. The four freshmen accounted for 70 of the Trojans' 200 minutes of playing time.
Ball Control Issues - In their season opener, the Trojans turned the ball over 23 times, which led to 31 Portland State points. They also only caused four turnovers for a -19 turnover margin. It would have taken a near perfect performance in every other aspect of the game for the Trojans to have come away with a victory.
Unfortunately, the turnovers were as much, if not moreso, an issue for the veterans as the freshman. Freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin and freshman forward Malik Martin combined for 10 turnovers, but sophomore stars Julian Jacobs, who also serves as the backup point guard when McLaughlin isn't on the court, and forward Nikola Jovanovic combined for 10 turnovers as well. Jovanovic's six turnovers is just unacceptable.
Setting the Tempo - Being unable to get any turnovers on defense, USC wasn't able to get out in the open court and push the ball on Saturday night. Instead, Portland State was able to control the tempo and hold USC to ZERO fast break points. The couple of opportunities USC had on the break fell apart because of poor execution.
On one play that Andy Enfield later said was the "key to the game," USC had a four-on-one right after taking its only second half lead. Chass Bryan bounced a pass between his legs to Julian Jacobs, who instead of taking it up and trying to dunk it over the one defender, chose to pass to Malik Martin. The defender swiped at the ball and knocked it off Martin's leg. The ball went out of bounds and back to the Vikings.
Shooters Got to Shoot - Katin Reinhardt came on late in the second half to finish with 11 points, but the Trojans need their top shooter to get involved early and often Monday night. Reinhardt has been nursing a re-aggravation of an old thumb injury, but his shot looked pure on Saturday night. He knocked his only three-point shot and finished 6-for-9 from the floor.
Defensive Lockdown - Tennessee Tech is coming off a historic victory over Piedmont International. The Golden Eagles held their opponent to just 29 points and 15.1 percent field goal shooting. It was the first time TTU had held an opponent below 30 points since 1947-48.
Cali Connection - The Golden Eagles starting frontcourt combination of 6'8" Dwan Caldwell and 6'10" Charles Jackson are heading home. Both Tennessee Tech players are from the Golden State with Caldwell hailing from Los Angeles and Jackson from Sacramento.
Caldwell played his high school ball at Leuzinger HS in Lawndale before attending Antelope Valley College for his first two years of college before transferring to TTU. He led the Golden Eagles in scoring last season (10.7) and field goal percentage (53.9). Jackson also transferred to Tennessee Tech after spending his freshman year at Lassen College and his sophomore season at the College of Southern Idaho. He had 10 points and 13 rebounds in his Tennessee Tech debut on Friday.
Tennessee Tech and USC have never met, so we're flashing back to the last time USC played an Ohio Valley Conference squad:
Nov. 28, 2008 - USC defeats UT-Martin 70-43 (@ Galen Center). The Trojans shot 57 percent from the floor and went on a 28-4 run in the first half to put the game out of reach early. Taj Gibson scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead USC while Lester Hudson, 20 points, was the only UT-Martin player in double figures.
Where to Watch:
Game Time, TV channel: 8:00 p.m. PST, Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson, Dan Belloumini)
Radio: USC: ESPN 710 AM (Chris Fisher, Jordan Moore); Tennessee Tech: 106.1 The Eagle (Dylan Vazzano)
Follow Along: Gametracker; USC Twitter - @USC_Hoops; Tennessee Tech Twitter - @TTU_Basketball
Odds & More:
Odds and Wagers: Latest Odds: USC -8.5, Over/Under: N/A
Projected Starting Lineups:
G - Jordan McLaughlin (6-1 freshman)
G - Katin Reinhardt (6-6 sophomore)
G - Julian Jacobs (6-5 sophomore)
F - Malik Martin (6-11 freshman)
F - Nikola Jovanovic (6-11 sophomore)
G - Torrance Rowe (6-1 junior)
G - Shirmane Thomas (6-2 sophomore)
G - Josiah Moore (6-5 junior)
C - Dwan Caldwell (6-8 senior)
C - Charles Jackson (6-10 junior)