USC To Face Undefeated New Mexico
Dec. 4, 2012
USC (3-4) will play at No. 18/20 New Mexico (8-0) at Bob King Court, better know as "The Pit" in Albuquerque, N.M. on Dec. 5 at 8:15 p.m. (MT). The Pit is ranked as the loudest arena by the St. Petersburg Times and as one of the best homecourt advantages by Rivals. The Lobos are 81-10 in the last six seasons at home. USC has lost four of its last five games and 11 consecutive road contests dating back to last season.
TROJANS MAKE A "PIT" STOP IN NEW MEXICO -- The 8-0 New Mexico Lobos have been led by Kendall Williams (14.3), Tony Snell (12.9) and Alex Kirk (11.5), who are all averaging double figures in scoring in the early going. Steve Alford has a 134-46 record in six seasons as the New Mexico head coach. The all-time series between USC and UNM is tied 5-5 with UNM winning the last four, including a 44-41 victory at the Galen Center on Dec. 10, 2011. The Lobos went overtime to win their last game, prevailing 77-68 at Indiana State on Dec. 1.
COLD SPELL AND NEBRASKA 3-POINTERS DOOM TROJANS -- USC went without a field goal for over 10 minutes spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half and could not recover in a 63-51 loss at Nebraska on Dec. 3. The Huskers outscored USC 19-3 in that span to turn a 25-all tie into a 44-28 lead and never looked back. The Huskers nailed 11 of 17 three-pointers, including going 5-for-5 during the run to separate from the Trojans. Ray Gallegos led Nebraska with six three-pointers and 20 points. J.T. Terrell had 14 points to lead the Trojans. USC struggled from the floor, making 38.3 percent of its shots, just 33.3 percent in the first half.
MINNESOTA ON DECK -- USC will return home to face No. 14/21 Minnesota (8-1) whose only loss this season was to No. 2 Duke at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Minnesota will host South Dakota State on Dec. 4 before traveling to Los Angeles. The Golden Gophers have four players averaging double figures in scoring: Rodney Williams (14.1), Andre Hollins (12.8), Austin Hollins (11.6) and Joe Coleman (10.1). USC lost 55-40 at Minnesota last season and trails in the all-time series, 2-3.
ROUGH TIMES ON THE ROAD -- USC was 1-11 in road games last season, going 0-9 in conference play and losing its final 10 road contests. Over the last four seasons, USC is 8-29 in road games, losing its last 11.
TROJANS TAKING A THORNY TRAIL -- USC's schedule is one of the toughest in the country and they are currently going through one of the hardest stretches. In the seven-game stretch which began vs. Illinois on Nov. 19 in Maui and ends Dec. 8 vs. Minnesota, USC is playing four teams that are currently ranked (Illinois, San Diego State, New Mexico and Minnesota) and the seven teams have a composite record of 43-7. USC only plays two home games in that stretch.
RAINING THREES IN THE FOUR LOSSES -- In USC's four losses this season, the opposition has made 35 of 71 three-pointers for a 49.3 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. In the last two games, both losses, USC allowed San Diego State to make 7 of 15 and Nebraska to make 11 of 17 three-pointers for 18 out of 32 (56.3 percent).
USC WATER POLO 5-PEATS! -- USC's men's water polo team defeated UCLA 11-10 on Dec. 2 at USC to win its fifth consecutive NCAA men's water polo title. The Trojans finished the season with a perfect 29-0 record.
SHOOTING WOES -- USC has made just 40.0 percent of its shots this season (161-for-402), but has struggled even more of late, making 36.1 percent (84-for-233) in the last four games.
SLOW STARTERS -- USC has scored the first points of the game only twice in seven tries this season and have been outscored 244-196 in the first half, while winning the second halves and overtime by a combined score of 251-221. USC has shot 37.6 percent in the first half (73-for-194) and 42.2 percent in the second half of games (86-for-204). USC has also gotten to the free throw line 24 more times in the second half and shoots free throws at a 69.4 clip after the break (50-for-72), while shooting 66.7 percent (32-for-48) in the first half. USC has also been outrebounded by 16 in the first half of games, while owning a 18-rebound edge in the second half. The same can be said about the turnover category where USC has 50 in the first half of games and 39 in the second half. USC's leading scorer J.T. Terrell has scored 8.0 points per game in the second half and 4.1 points per game in the first half. The biggest descrepancy is on the defensive side, where USC has allowed opposition teams to shoot 48.3 percent in the first half (87-for-180), including a 50.8 percentage from three-point range (31-for-61), while holding them to a 35.8 FG percentage (64-for-179) and a 32.8 3-point FG percentage (22-for-67) in the second half and overtime of games.