Feast Week Mission Briefing: USC in the Battle 4 AtlantisPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on November 28th, 2013
With Feast Week tipping off over the weekend, we’re outlining the roads ahead for prominent Pac-12 teams involved in neutral site events this week.
What They’ve Done So Far: USC opened its season with one if its toughest non-conference games, a road trip to Logan to face Utah State. Things didn’t go in head coach Andy Enfield‘s debut as the Aggies blitzed the Trojans from the start and got the 78-65 win. Since then, however, USC has won four in a row, including a 14-point victory against regional rival Cal State Fullerton. Junior guard Byron Wesley has shined the brightest in Enfield’s up-tempo offense, averaging 19.8 PPG and grabbing a cool 8.8 RPG.
First Round Preview: USC meets 4-0 Villanova in the first round Thursday morning. The Wildcats have not had an opportunity to get a signature win, but they did dispatch a good Towson squad, 78-44. Five days later, however, they struggled to pull away from a mediocre Delaware team and barely held on for a four-point win. They are led by junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston, who is averaging over 20 PPG. For the Cats to escape the tournament opener, defending the endless list of USC bigs will be key. If they are able to limit their looks inside, Nova should definitely win this one.
Potential Later Round Match-up: If the bracket holds, it looks like the Trojans would face Wake Forest on Friday, and in the game everyone wants to see, UTEP on Saturday. Both potential matchups are interesting for different reasons. Former USC coach Kevin O’Neill took a leap of faith on a pair of Demon Deacon transfers, J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart, a couple years back. While the additions have not necessarily paid off (both are currently academically ineligible), it would be fun to see both teams play each other. And of course, the possible meeting with the Miners is tantalizing because of the recent drama between Enfield and UTEP coach Tim Floyd. We can only hope.
Outlook: For this trip to be a success, USC needs to return home from paradise with at least a 2-1 record. I think they do that thanks to a balanced attack from Wesley and center Omar Oraby, getting a blowout win against Wake Forest and eeking out a thriller against UTEP.