Texas (2-1) vs. USC (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 20, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Site: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400) -- Maui, Hawaii. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Texas 2-0, USC 2-0. Away Record: Texas 0-0, USC 0-0. Neutral Record: Texas 0-1, USC 0-1. Conference Record: Texas 0-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: USC leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: After both teams experienced a miserable day in paradise, the Texas Longhorns and USC Trojans will try to get back on track when they square off in the consolation round of the Maui Invitational.
The winner of this game will face the victor of the Marquette/Mississippi State bout in the final day of the event. The losing teams will also meet.
Rick Barnes once came to the Maui Invitational as the head coach of Providence only to see his Friars upset by the hosting Division II Chaminade Silverswords. Barnes experienced deja vu on Monday when his Longhorns were handed an 86-73 beating by the hosts. The loss was the first of the season for Texas, which narrowly downed Fresno State (55-53) in its opener before cruising past Coppin State (69-46) on Nov. 12.
The Trojans fell behind early and could not erase the deficit in their first-round loss to Illinois. Although coach Kevin O'Neil is known as a defensive guru, his team allowed the Fighting Illini to shoot 69 percent from the floor on the way to their 31-point halftime lead. USC managed to outscore its opponent over the final 20 minutes, but just by a point as it lost 94-64. The setback was the first of the season for the Trojans, who opened up the year with double-digit wins over Coppin State (87-73) and Long Beach State (62-44).
This contest marks the 12th encounter between these programs. USC comes into Tuesday holding a 6-5 lead in the all-time series after its 73-56 win on Dec. 5, 2010.
USC has a very different makeup from its squad that finished with a dismal 6-26 overall record last season. Despite Monday's unfavorable outcome, there is no doubt the Trojans have made an improvement. Wake Forest transfer J.T. Terrell is one of the new additions to the roster who is making an immediate impact. The junior guard finished with 11 points versus Illinois for his third- straight double-digit scoring output to start the season. Terrell has yet to find his stroke, as has made just 30.7 percent of his field goal attempts including only 5-of-20 from distance. 7-2, 270 pound center Omar Oraby is another transfer making his mark right away. The former Rice Owl finished his first game in a USC uniform with 16 points and six rebounds in 14 minutes. Sophomore guard Byron Wesley and UC Irvine transfer Eric Wise are both valuable role players for O'Neil as well.
The Longhorns are clearly missing Myck Kabongo's presence on the floor. The star sophomore point guard is being held out of competition while the NCAA investigates whether he received improper benefits that would compromise his amateur status. Without Kabongo, Texas made only 1-of-8 attempts from three- point range and finished with 18 turnovers to just 10 assists. Sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan tallied a pair of impressive performances prior to Hawaii, as he came in with a 22.5 ppg scoring average. McClellan was bottled up on Monday which caused him to go 3-of-11 from the floor for 14 points. Freshman Javan Felix is starting at point guard with Kabongo sidelined and despite the loss, had his best collegiate performance versus the Silverswords with 17 points and five assists. Sophomore forward Jonathan Holmes added 10 points and finished just one rebound shy of a double-double.
These schools battled for the National Championship on the gridiron not too long ago in what was a highly competitive and entertaining matchup. While nowhere near as much is at stake in this one, this could be an exciting bout nonetheless.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 66, Texas 64
11/20 10:34:44 ET