USC men’s basketball vs. Alabama State: What you need to know

USC vs. Alabama State

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Galen Center

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network/AM 790

Records: USC 0-1; Alabama State 0-1

USC latest result: The Trojans suffered a stunning 74-61 defeat at the hands of head coach Andy Enfield’s former team, Florida Gulf Coast, in Monday’s season opener. USC looked discombobulated, particularly on offense, for much of the game. Whether it was the 15 turnovers or the abysmal shooting, the Trojans were unable to put together sustained runs, and instead went long stretches without making field goals. The lone bright spot for USC was the play of center Joshua Morgan, whose seven blocks were one shy of the program’s single-game record set by Onyeka Okongwu in 2019.

Alabama State latest result: The Hornets were on the wrong end of a blowout in their season opener, falling 111-70 to UAB. Alabama State gave up over 50 points in each half and allowed a 53.1% mark from the field by the Blazers. ASU’s offense struggled, too, making 31.6% of shots from the field and 37.5% from 3-point range. Guard T.J. Madlock was one of two Hornets to shoot 50% from the floor, scoring 25 points and making five of nine 3-pointers.

Key matchup: USC vs. Alabama State’s offensive rebounding. USC gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Florida Gulf Coast, Alabama State collected 15 offensive rebounds against UAB. Can the undersized Trojans rely on their guards to protect the glass and prevent another upset opportunity?

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USC trend to watch: The Trojans were bullish about their 3-point shooting entering the season, saying it had been a strength during training camp and exhibitions. But they got a reality check in the season opener as USC went 3 for 19 from 3-point range, with all three makes coming from guard Boogie Ellis. The rest of the team was a collective 0 for 13. USC expressed confidence after the game that the shooting numbers would average themselves out, but Thursday’s performance could indicate if this will be a season-long trend for USC.

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