Team Name: USC Trojans
Head Coach: Andy Enfield, 2nd year (11-21, .344). Formerly of Florida Gulf Coast / Dunk City fame, where he went 41-28 (.594), 21-15 (.583) in the Atlantic Sun in two seasons with the Eagles.
SB Nation Community: Conquest Chronicles
Last Year Record: 11-21 (2-16), 12th Pac-12
Final Kenpom Ranking: 163
Key Losses: Byron Wesley (17.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.3 apg), Pe'Shon Howard (10.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.9 apg), J.T. Terrell (9.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.0 apg), Omar Oraby (8.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.4 apg), Roschon Prince (4.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.2 apg, transferred to Long Beach State)
Key Returnees: Nikola Jovanovic (8.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.5 apg), Julian Jacobs (6.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.6 apg)
Additions (Transfers, Recruits): Darion Clark (sophomore transfer from Charlotte, Conyers, Ga.), Katin Reinhardt (sophomore transfer from UNLV, Dana Point, Ca.), Malik Price-Martin (freshman from Miami, Fla.), Jordan McLaughlin (freshman from Etiwanda, Ca.), Malik Marquetti (freshman from Compton, Ca.), Elijah Stewart (freshman, from Deridder, La. but played in Los Angeles)
Game vs. BC: December 21, 4:00 p.m., ESPNU
Projected Starting Lineup:
G Jordan McLaughlin, freshman
G Julian Jacobs, sophomore
G Katin Reinhardt, sophomore
F Darion Clark, sophomore
F Nikola Jovanovic, sophomore
He's a Dude: Jordan McLaughlin, freshman point guard. The consensus four-star point guard from California was rated as the 49th best player in the 2014 class by Rivals and should make an immediate impact in the Trojans' backcourt. McLaughlin committed to USC over a handful of major conference program offers, including Arizona, UConn, Indiana, Kansas and cross-town UCLA.
All-Time Series vs. Boston College: 3-0 USC
All-Time Series History:
L - USC 78, Boston College 62 (December 8, 2013)
L - USC 72, Boston College 55 (March 20, 2009)
L - USC 74, Boston College 71 (March 17, 2001)
How they match up with Boston College: Last season, BC was more or less non-competitive on the road at USC in a listless 78-62 loss to the Trojans. But this is a very different Trojans team returning to the Heights this December. USC loses its top four scorers from last season -- Byron Wesley (transferred to Gonzaga), Pe'Shon Howard, J.T. Terrell and Omar Oraby. Combined with the loss of Roschon Prince (transfer to Long Beach State) and D.J. Haley (graduation), and USC loses 60 percent of the scoring from last year's win over BC. Jacobs and Jovanovic scored the other 31 points.
To say that this year's USC team is incredibly young, after returning just two starters from last year's 11-21 team would be an understatement. The Trojans will likely start a true freshman at point guard (Jordan McLaughlin) and four sophomores.
On paper, BC should fare a bit better than they did in Los Angeles last season given USC's roster attrition. That's not to say USC isn't without some playmakers. Jacobs and Jovanovic scored 31 of 78 points vs. BC last year, and Enfield expects McLaughlin and sophomore transfers Clark and Reinhardt to make an immediate impact.
GIF if Boston College wins:
GIF if Boston College loses:
Way Too Early Prediction: Boston College 77, USC 73
In a matchup of two teams projected to finish near the bottom of their respective conference standings (USC picked 10th of 12, BC undoubtedly will be picked DFL), I'm thinking better coaching, a change of venue and BC losing less talent on the roster will help the Eagles notch their first-ever victory over the Trojans.
The Conte Forum crowd will be dead -- game is over winter break right before Christmas -- but that is a long way to go for a one-off game back East.