USC basketball's outlook for their first game since December 18th on Thursday night is a bit complicated.
They're playing the Cal Golden Bears, which is a game SC should easily win. It's not that Cal is some terrible team, but they're very far from world-beaters, as they're 9-5 on the year. Cal's at home, but the Trojans should have no fear as they have started the season red-hot.
Ranked No. 7 in the country, USC basketball has started the season 12-0. While this game should be an easy win for SC, the long break from basketball that they've had due to the coronavirus pandemic could possibly cause the team to be a bit rusty in what shouldn't have been a tough matchup.
USC basketball has had four games postponed or canceled since December 18th.
USC basketball's opponent in Cal has not had a single game postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 this season. In fact, they already played a game this week when they washed Arizona State 74-50 in Berkeley on Sunday.
USC's third in the conference in points per game at 75.9. They'll be going up against an offense in Cal who shouldn't be able to keep up, and is 11th in the conference with 66.9 points per game. The fact that Cal has been able to continue playing as normal and keep their chemistry together could potentially screw with the Trojans in their meeting.
After all, we know Cal is going to come out and try to shoot USC out of the building, as three-point shooting is one of the few things Cal is better than SC at this year. They're not going to have any issues sending SC to shoot at the line either, because of SC being terrible from the stripe, and the worst in the conference by far (58.4%). It'll be a little tougher to succeed shooting the basketball when the team hasn't had a ton of repetition in games in weeks.
This is where SC will need to lean on some of their most talented offensive threats who will be more likely to be able to shake off the rust if it's there.
Isaiah Mobley will of course need to be the go-to, as his resume so far this season speaks for itself. Mobley is fourth in the conference with 15 points per game, third on the team with a 47.9% field goal percentage, and top ten in the conference with a 42.6% mark.
Look for Chevez Goodwin, who leads the conference with a 64.2% field goal percentage to be fed the ball inside, and arguably our best three-point shooter in Ethan Anderson to receive some kick-outs where he can hit from deep.
Thursday's game is going to be about rolling with our bread and butter, and we can't try to get cute in a game when we haven't played and been in our rhythm for weeks.