Busting Brackets

USC vs California: College basketball game preview, TV schedule

HONOLULU, HI - DECEMBER 25: The USC Trojan bench celebrates after Bennie Boatwright
HONOLULU, HI - DECEMBER 25: The USC Trojan bench celebrates after Bennie Boatwright /

The USC Trojans’ season has been marred with controversy, bad losses, and inconsistent play. Andy Enfield’s team will attempt to right the ship in their game at California.

TV Schedule: Thursday, Jan. 4, 10:30 p.m. EST, Pac-12 Network

Arena: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, California

The USC Trojans 10-5 (1-1) have had a roller-coaster season so far, beginning with the FBI probe that ended in the arrest of an assistant coach and the ineligibility of a key starter. With highs such as winning the Diamond Head Classic and lows that include a home loss to Princeton, USC will need to become more consistent if they aim to stay in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

The Trojans who entered the season as a Top 25 team that was expected to compete for the Pac-12 title, have at times looked uninspired. Led by Bennie Boatwright, Chimezie Metu, and Jordan McLaughlin, USC has remained a solid offensive team but lacks a certain fire on the defensive end.

Up north, however, the California Golden Bears 7-7 (1-0) have been just as erratic as the Trojans, but have managed to perform better than expected. Initially pegged as one of the worst major conference teams in the country, Cal has had some surprising win and extremely disappointing losses.

The Bears, led by Don Coleman, will be looking to earn their first home victory in Pac-12 play, after starting their slate with a road win against Bay Area rival, Stanford. Cal has one of the worst defenses in college basketball, but their ability to go on huge runs could keep them in this game.

Cal will be playing the role of underdog for most of their Pac-12 games, and this matchup is no different. Despite missing Chimezie Metu for the first half, due to a suspension, USC should be able to earn the victory.

Next: Current bracketology

Watch out for Don Coleman though, who can get hot in an instant and make this game close.

Prediction: USC 82 – Colorado 75