University of South California
Location: Los Angeles California
Type of School: Private Research Institution
Mascot: Traveler (the horse)
Head Coach: Andy Enfield
Overall Record: 22-11
Conference Record: 14-6
Points Scored Per Game: 72.5 (158th Nationally)
Points Scored Against Per Game: 67.4 (96th)
Best Win: UCLA (77-64)
Worst Loss: Florida Gulf Coast (61-74)
2022-’23 Kenpom 4 Factors
Effective FG%: 51.3 (138)
Turnover %: 18.1 (175)
Off. Reb. %: 28.9 (171)
FTA/FGA: 33.2 (113)
Effective FG%: 45.4 (11th)
Turnover %: 17.8 (186th)
Off. Reb. %: 32.2 (322)
FTA/FGA: 30.2 (157)
Projected Starting Lineup
*All stats from ‘22-’23 season
|Point Guard||1||Isaiah Collier||Fr.||6'5"||210||NA|
|Forward||10||D.J. Rodman||Gr.||6'6"||225||Washington State||9.6||1.4||5.8||0.3||0.7|
|Center||24||Joshua Morgan||Sr.||6'11"||225||Long Beach State||7||0.5||5.2||2.2||0.5|
USC has an uber-talented backcourt featuring two former highly rated recruits.
Collier, the overall second-rated player in the nation in the 2023 recruiting class, is a 6’5” point guard with a smooth handle and elite passing skills. He throws bullets off the dribble with either hand and doesn’t hesitate to toss lobs off the pick and roll and in transition. When it’s time to score, he puts his head down and uses his size to bully opposing point guards on the way to the basket. The good news, if there is any, is that Collier’s a spotty but confident shooter. I expect Kansas State to sit back and let him prove that he can hit the 3. It might not be a bad thing for him to hit one early and get a taste for launching from deep. Coach Tang will happily live or die with Collier shooting from the perimeter instead of gutting his defense with precision passes and drives to the basket.
Meanwhile, Ellis is a former 4* point guard out of the 2021 class and USC’s returning leading scorer. He’ll pair with Collier in the back court and will most likely switch off point guard duties. Unlike Collier, Ellis is a knock-down perimeter shooter capable of hitting off the dribble and coming off screens. I’m sure he can spot up as well, but he had the ball in his hands most of the time last season. He was the guy that got other players spot-up 3s. With Collier on board this season, he can move off the ball and better utilize screens, and spot up at the 3-point line when Collier looks to drive and kick.
That’s it; that’s what USC is going to do on offense.
Everything runs through the guards. They’re going to play a pro-style, pick-and-roll game with the ball in either Collier’s or Ellis’s hands with a spread floor and rely on talent to win. That’s not a bad plan when you’ve got this much talent. Keep in mind that Bronny James will join up with this squad at some point in the near future, adding another dynamic wing to a team flush with dynamic perimeter players.
One thing to look for is the lob pass. Collier loves to throw it, and if you remember Enfield from Florida Gulf Coast and “Dunk City,” he loves it when his point guards throw lobs. Look for Collier to throw a few up to Josh Morgan. As K-State fans are well aware, lob dunks only count for 2 points, but they immediately amp up the energy in a building, and that’s the energy USC will need to knock off the ‘Cats. N’Guessan will have his hands full in pick-and-roll defense tonight on a night where Tomlin would have been extremely useful in combating and dissuading lobs at the rim.
USC is a sound defensive team with an eraser on the back line in the lanky Morgan. They’ll have a size advantage over the ‘Cats and should be the more athletic team. Look for them to try and get into Kansas State’s shooters and make them drive the ball to win.
Matchup to Watch
Tylor Perry vs Isaiah Collier
We’ve got a classic match-up of contrasting styles on our hands tonight.
You’ve got the uber talent freshman making his college debut vs the grizzled G5 veteran making his P5 debut. Oh, Collier is 6’5” and Perry is 5’11”, and yet, both play point guard. You’ll get some cross matching on defense with Perry taking Ellis and the bigger Cam Carter moving over on Collier, but Perry and Collier will see enough of each other to make this an exciting match-up.
Will Collier bully the smaller Perry? Will Perry, one of the best shooters in the nation, terrorize the freshman from deep when the freshman gets lost?
I guess we’ll find out in a few hours.
Kansas State - 71
USC - 72
Confidence - 53%
Kansas State - 72
USC - 71
I changed the score because I like it when the good guys win. This is a pick-em game. I’d love to see this played later in the season with James and Tomlin both available, but nobody asked me.