USC Trojans (4-2) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-2)
Head Coach: Doc Sadler (Year 5: 73-60)
Conference: Big XII
Stars: G Lance Jeter, F Christian Standhardinger
Location: Lincoln Nebraska (Bob Devaney Sports Center)
Time: 3:00 PM PDT
TV: FSN, usctrojans.com
Radio: 710 AM
Matchup: Coming off of an impressive second half against Fullerton, USC travels to Nebraska as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The Trojans are riding a mini two-game winning streak and hope to avenge a 51-48 loss during the final seconds in Los Angeles a year ago.
Nebraska opened up the season by beating South Dakota and then blowing out Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Huskers then traveled to Puerto Rico, where they fell to Vanderbilt and Davidson before beating Hofstra by 15 last Sunday. Having not played in five days, Nebraska should be more well rested than the Trojans, who flew out early Thursday morning following the victory over Fullerton.
Offensively, USC won’t hold the height advantage it has for most of the year. Today’s game will doing a better job of simulating competition against the Pac-10 and even the tough non-conference games coming up. Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson will need to be more physical. Nebraska averages 37 rebounds per game, so the battle on the boards will be intense. Can Vucevic continue to rack up double-doubles? His production is crucial to lead the offense along with shifty guard play from Maurice Jones.
The Husker’s depth will push USC. Nebraska uses a deep rotation, with 11 players averaging over 10 minutes. Nobody averages over 26 minutes per game, which means fresh legs are always on the court. By contrast, Maurice Jones typically plays the entire game and many other Trojans log heavy minutes. On top of the deep rotation, Nebraska distribute their scoring rather evenly. Nebraska averages 67 points per game, but no one player takes charge on offense. Christian Standhardinger, the leading scorer, averages just 11 points per game.