USC (4-7) at Georgia (3-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 1:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) -- Athens, Georgia. Television: FSN. Home Record: USC 3-3, Georgia 3-3. Away Record: USC 0-2, Georgia 0-2. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, Georgia 0-2. Conference Record: USC 0-0, Georgia 0-0. Series Record: Georgia leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The USC Trojans will try for their first road win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.
The Trojans' campaign started off promising enough, as they posted wins in three of their first four games, including a 59-53 overtime triumph against Texas in the Maui Invitational. Since then however, USC has been reeling with six losses in the its last seven games. It closed out a three-game homestand on Thursday night with a disappointing 61-54 setback at the hands of UC Irvine.
Georgia's success this season has been fleeting, as it has already recorded losing streaks of three- and four-games. The Bulldogs are in the midst of a season-long, six-game homestand, and after losing to Iona (81-78) and Georgia Tech (62-54) to start, they bounced back with a 58-49 victory against Mercer on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs have captured both previous meetings with USC, most recently claiming a 63-59 win in Los Angeles last December.
A staple to USC's game plan in recent years has been its stout play at the defensive end of the floor, and that has continued this season as it allows just 63.5 ppg on 40.5 percent field goal efficiency. The problem for the Trojans is they oftentimes can't put enough points on the board to take advantage (63.2 ppg). Thursday night's game was one example, as they shot just 40.4 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers in the seven-point loss to UCI. Omar Oraby (12 points) and Eric Wise (10 points) were the only Trojans to score in double figures, although Byron Wesley narrowly missed a double- double with nine points and nine rebounds. Wise is the team's leading scorer with 10.6 ppg and he does so on a very impressive 53.4 percent from the field. J.T. Terrell adds 10.3 ppg on a much-less impressive showing from the floor (.318). Jio Fontan (8.5 ppg) is one of the Pac-12's most efficient point guards, dishing out 59 assists against 33 turnovers.
Surprisingly enough, Georgia has been one of the few major programs that has put up fewer points per game than USC, as it scores a dismal 59.0 ppg on 39.8 percent shooting from the floor. The team's struggles continued against Mercer, as it made good on just 19-of-44 field goal attempts (.432), but its effort at the defensive end was spectacular, as it held the Bears to 31.4 percent shooting in the nine-point win. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued his impressive season, logging 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while Charles Mann added 10 points, seven boards and five assists. Caldwell-Pope is the Bulldogs' only consistent option, as he nets 17.4 ppg, albeit on just 39.0 percent shooting from the field. Caldwell-Pope also leads the team in rebounding (7.4 rpg), steals (2.6 spg) and 3-point baskets (28). Nemanja Djurisic is the club's next-best scoring option, but he nets just 7.2 ppg.
Chances are this game will be a defensive struggle throughout, as neither team has shown the ability to score with any degree of consistency. The Bulldogs have the game's best playmaker in Caldwell-Pope, as well as the homecourt advantage, giving them the nod.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 60, USC 57
12/22 10:33:01 ET