USC Opens 2011-12 Season Hosting CSUN Friday At Galen
Nov. 9, 2011
The USC men's basketball team will open up its 2011-12 season by hosting CS Northridge at the Galen Center on Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. The game will be part of a doubleheader as the USC women's team begins the night with a game vs. Fresno State at 5 p.m.
THE 2011-12 TROJANS -- USC returns only two players who logged significant minutes for the 2010-11 team. USC went 19-15 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where it lost in the first round to eventual NCAA Final Four team VCU. The lone player returning who started a year ago is 2010-11 Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection Maurice Jones (25 starts). Jones averaged 9.9 points, 3.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds, while setting the USC freshman steals record with 69. The 5-7 guard's 2.6 rebounds per game are the most by a returning Trojan. USC lost key seniors Marcus Simmons, Donte Smith and Alex Stepheson and junior Nikola Vucevic departed early for the NBA. Also, USC had expected to rely heavily on senior point guard and co-captain Jio Fontan, but he tore his ACL on the team's exhibition trip to Brazil in August. With Fontan's injury, only Jones (337 points), sophomore forward Garrett Jackson (107 points) and injured redshirt sophomore forward Evan Smith (13 points) have scored any points in a Trojan uniform.
SEASON AND HOME OPENER VS. CS NORTHRIDGE -- USC opens the 2011-12 season by hosting CS Northridge. The Matadors went 14-18 in 2010-11 and return two starters and seven lettermen from that squad. USC leads the all-time series with CS Northridge 4-1, but lost the last time they met, 81-76 in overtime on Nov. 20, 2005 to open the 2006 season. USC also played its 2000 and 2004 home openers vs. CS Northridge, both wins. Tonight's game will be streamed live on USCTrojans.com.
TROJANS IN HOME OPENERS -- USC defeated UC Irvine 62-49 in the season and home opener last season, its third consecutive win in the opener. USC has opened at home the last seven seasons and is 4-3 in those games. USC is 41-9 in its last 50 home openers, winning 13 of the last 16 and is 72-33 in season openers.
NEBRASKA ON DECK -- USC's second game of the season is against newest Big Ten member Nebraska at the Galen Center on Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Prime Ticket. The Cornhuskers went 19-13 last season and return four starters and nine lettermen from that squad. Nebraska returns six players that scored at least 5.0 points per game, led by junior center Jorge Brian Diaz who averaged 8.8 points per game last season. USC leads the all-time series 5-3, but lost 60-58 at Nebraska last season and lost 51-48 at the Galen Center during the 2009-10 season.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2011-12 schedule features 22 of 31 games against teams which finished the 2010-11 season with a record of .500 or better. Among the nonconference highlights are games against perennial national powers Kansas, UNLV, New Mexico, Minnesota and a potential match-up vs. preseason No. 1 North Carolina.
USC TO FACE EXPERIENCED OPPONENTS - Seven of USC's first 10 opponents return at least four starters from last year's team: Nebraska (4), Cal Poly (4), Morgan State (4), UNLV (4), North Carolina (5)/South Carolina (4), UC Riverside (4) and New Mexico (4). Maurice Jones is USC's lone returning starter and he started the first 25 games and not the final nine.
DEDMON FEATURED IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - USC redshirt sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon is featured in the current Sports Illustrated (November 7) and also is highlighted in a video feature on SportsIllustrated.com. Not bad for a guy who hasn't played his first minute for USC!
TROJANS ON TV -- USC's men's basketball team will have 21 to 26 of its 31 regular season games broadcast on television or available online this season. Six games are slated to be aired nationally on Fox Sports Net (FSN), seven regionally on Prime Ticket or Fox Sports West (FS West) and one each on the Big Ten Network, the Mountain West Sports Network and Comcast SportsNet California. Four games are potential wildcard selections during Pac-12 play and the game on Nov. 26 at the Las Vegas Invitational will be broadcast on ESPN2, if USC is playing North Carolina. Additionally, five Trojan home games will be streamed live exclusively on USCTrojans.com and as always, all home games will be archived on USCTrojans.com.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC held opponents to a conference low of 62.7 points per game during the 2010-11 season. USC was 13-1 in games it held the opponent under 60 points last season, the lone loss being its NCAA Tournament loss to VCU (59-46). In the past six seasons, USC has held the opponent to under 60 points in 81 times and is 67-14 in those games (.827 winning percentage). USC also held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting 16 times during the 2010-11 season and was 14-2 in those games. During the past six seasons USC has held the opponent to under 40 percent shooting 103 times and is 82-21 in those games. USC has allowed 80 points or more just five times in the first 64 games under head coach Kevin O'Neill and one of those games was a double-overtime contest. USC is 0-5 in those games.
FEELING THE FRESHMAN "MOJO" -- USC sophomore guard Maurice Jones had an impressive first season at USC, setting the school freshman steals record with 69, which also was the seventh-most all-time in a season by a Pac-10 freshman. Jones also placed his name in the USC record books in eight other categories among freshmen all-time: FG attempted (8th), 3-point FG made (T-5th), 3-point FG attempted (T-5th), 3-point FG percentage (T-5th), FT made (8th), FT attempted (6th), assists (5th) and turnovers (T-8th). In the last 20 seasons, only six USC freshmen have averaged more points than Jones (9.9): DeMar DeRozan (13.9 in 2009), O.J. Mayo (20.7 in 2008), Davon Jefferson (12.1 in 2008), Taj Gibson (12.2 in 2007), Gabe Pruitt (12.3 in 2005) and Nick Young (11.1 in 2005).
DEDMON NAMED AMONG TOP INTERIOR DEFENDERS -- USC reshirt sophomore Dewayne Dedmon was named by CBSSports.com as one of the top 10 interior defenders entering the 2011-12 season. The list says that Dedmon has quick feet, is quick off the ground and has a high motor. It also states that he tries to block everything and could be dominant on the defensive end for the Trojans.
THE GALEN ADVANTAGE -- USC was 12-4 in home games last season and is 63-19 in five seasons at the Galen Center since it opened on Nov. 16, 2006. USC is also 31-6 in nonconference games at the Galen Center.
IT'S A NEW DAY... -- The Trojans will have to replace a great deal of their production from the 2010-11 season as starters Nikola Vucevic, Alex Stepheson, Donte Smith and Marcus Simmons have all departed and returning senior point guard Jio Fontan suffered a torn ACL on the team's trip to Brazil this summer. That leaves Maurice Jones' 9.9 points and Garrett Jackson's 3.2 as the only returning scorers from a season ago. The 5-7 Jones is also USC's leading returning rebounder at 2.6 boards per game. USC returns 19.8 percent of its points per game and 12.7 percent of its rebounds per game, all lows for a Pac-12 team.
TROJAN TIDBITS -- USC has only three seniors on its roster, Jio Fontan who will likely miss this season due to injury, Eric Wise who transfered from UC Irvine and will have to sit out the 2011-12 season and walk-on guard Eric Strangis. Nine of USC's 17 players are either freshmen or sophomores. Ten of the 17 players have never played in a game for the Trojans before.
INJURY UPDATES -- Sophomore forward Curtis Washington had surgery to repair his labrum on Aug. 24 and is expected to miss the season. Senior guard Jio Fontan had surgery to repair his left ACL on Sept. 13 and is expected to miss the season. Redshirt sophomore Evan Smith reinjured the left glenoid labrum of his left shoulder on Oct. 18 (previously repaired on 12/23/10). He is being treated with a conservative treatment plan of rest and rehabilitation, with the goal of returning Evan to basketball activity without surgical intervention and he is expected to miss at least six weeks. Sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right hand, second metacarpal neck (just above the knuckle of his index finder) during unofficial practice on Oct. 11. He has been practicing with a cast or splint on his hand since and practiced for the first time without a cast or splint on Nov. 9.