USC Basketball Preview: TCU Horned Frogs

USC Trojans (4-3) at TCU Horned Frogs (4-2)

Head Coach: Jim Christian (Year 3: 31-38)

Conference:  Mountain West

Stars: G Ronnie Moss, F Garlan Green

Location: Fort Worth, Texas 

Time: 5:00 PM (PDT)

TV: none

Radio: 710 AM

Matchup: USC travels from Lincoln, Nebraska to Fort Worth, Texas for its first ever meeting with the TCU Horned Frogs. The Trojans let another win slip from their grasps against Nebraska, and are looking to rebound before coming home to play No. 20 Texas. After leading by as many as 20 in the first half and by 13 at halftime, USC ended up losing by 2. The Huskers superior depth wore the Trojans down, leading to big runs that ended up erasing their deficit. For a team hoping to get off to a fast start, reach twenty wins, and secure an NCAA tournament bid, the last four games have been rather disappointing. Now would be a good time to turn the ship around as the tougher out-of-conference opponents begin to surface. 

Part of USC’s problem right now is depth. They are in the midst of 8 games in 17 days, the most grueling streak since the 1983-1984 season according to Kevin O’Neill runs a seven man rotation, and it doesn’t bode well offensively. Freshman guard Maurice Jones has played all but four minutes this season, and other players have logged extensive amounts of time. Perhaps O’Neill doesn’t like to play more than seven, but something must be done. The Trojans have had trouble closing out games recently, and that is likely due to fatigue. At Nebraska, they built a huge lead early, but didn’t have the energy to close out the victory. After shooting the ball uncharacteristically well in the first half in Lincoln (56.7%), the Trojans came out and shot 27% in the second half. When your legs are tired, shots start to fall short. So far, the freshman Maurice Jones and Bryce Jones have played well to spell stud Nikola Vucevic inside, but the amount of time they spend on the court is hurting down the stretch. 

Ronnie Moss is one player to watch on defense. The junior guards has scored in double figures in every contest this season and will need extra attention from freshman Maurice Jones and Bryce Jones. The other player of concern is sophomore forward Garlon Green. After playing a limited role his freshman year, Green has begun the 2010 campaign on fire. Through six games, he has shot 58.7% from the field and has nailed 7 of 11 three-point attempts. At 6’7″ he is a sharpshooter that may torment the USC defense. Early in the year, the Trojans have given up too many open jump shots, and using a big man to counter Green would create a hole in the middle. The Horned Frogs aren’t particularly known for their offensive prowess, shooting 45% as a team.  However, USC must do a better job of contesting jumpers and not allowing open looks if they plan to win.

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