USC vs. Colorado: Men’s Basketball Preview


Dec 29, 2012; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes fans reach to the first points of the game against the Hartford Hawks at the Coors Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans vs. Colorado Buffaloes

Coors Events Center | Boulder, Colorado7:00 PM Pacific | ESPN U

The USC Trojans began their Pac-12 campaign with a 1-1 record after defeating Stanford, while losing to Cal Berkeley. The Trojans will travel on the road to a hostile environment in the Coors Event Center.

The Trojans are looking to win their seventh game of the season, and second in Pac-12 play, eclipsing last years mark in both categories. To win their monumental seventh game the USC Trojans must battle the Colorado Buffaloes, a unit searching for their first Pac-12 victory of the season.

The Colorado Buffaloes lost both games to open up Pac-12 play, but looked quite impressive against formidable road opponents. Colorado fell in overtime at Arizona (92-83) and in regulation at ASU (65-56).

At Coors Event Center, the Buffaloes played inspired basketball. In front of an average of 10,000+ fans per night, the Buffaloes stand 6-0 at home this season coming off a 14-2 clip last season. USC did not fair well in their last trip to Colorado with a 74-54 loss on Dec. 2, 1968. Last season, the Buffaloes demolished USC 74-50 at the Galen Center in their first meeting as part of the Pac-12.

In the non-conference slate, Colorado has been battle tested with a mixed bag of results. With impressive wins over Baylor, Dayton and Murray State; Colorado has defeated three tournamen-quality contenders. Colorado also defeated 13-2 Colorado State, the leader in the highly-competitive MWC conference.

Colorado did not fair well against, at the time No. 9 ranked, Kansas losing 90-54 at the dreaded Allen Fieldhouse. As the No. 6 ranked team in the preseason poll, the defending Pac-12 tournament champions are quite talented on both sides of the ball.

With four starters in double-figures on a nightly basis, Colorado can score the basketball from the perimeter and in the paint.

The Buffaloes are led by sophomore Askia Booker, a Los Angeles native who was recruited by Long Beach State, Montana State, Northern Colorado, UC Irvine and finally Colorado. Booker averages 14.9 PPG but takes a high number of shots, attempting 13.6 shots per night.

In the paint, Andre Roberson is an athletic freak of nature, that can finish at the rim and reject shots all over the defensive end. Roberson is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc and can also stretch the court with his defense, forcing 3.4 turnovers per game.

Outside of the starting five, the Colorado bench is not as formidable as the Trojans 10-man rotation. Xavier Johnson is the one player to keep an eye on from the Colorado bench, averaging 6.6 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game on 50-percent shooting.

The key matchup for the Trojans will be at the free-throw line and the battle in the paint for rebounds. Both the Buffaloes and the Trojans shot 65 percent from the charity stripe.

On Saturday against Cal, USC shot 8-18 from the line losing the contest by eight points. In their overtime loss to No. 4 ranked Arizona, Colorado shot 58 percent from the free-throw line on 17-29 shooting.

On the glass, the Buffaloes average 39-rebounds per contest while holding their opponents to 34 rebounds per contest. USC is averaging only 34 rebounds per night, but present size nightmares in Omar Oraby, Dewayne Dedmon and James Blacszyk, making SC the only NCAA DI-team with three seven-footers in the rotation.

The USC Trojans who are 0-3 on the road, will look to win their first road game of the season against a Colorado Buffaloes squad that is undefeated at home this season.

Projected Starting Lineups