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What to watch as USC basketball takes on Idaho

What to watch tonight as the USC men's basketball team takes on Idaho at the Galen Center at 7 p.m.

The USC men's basketball team got back in the win column at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday and will try to continue its success at home Monday night when the Trojans (6-2) take on Idaho. USC is a perfect 4-0 at home, but was just 2-2 hitting the road in its last four games. 

Here's what to watch, where you can see the game, a flashback to the last time these teams played and the projected starting lineups.

What to Watch:

Man in the Mask - Andy Enfield said after Thursday night's game that Jordan McLaughlin may have a procedure and get a custom-fitted face mask to help with the depth perception issues that have plagued him recently. Will that have been done before Monday night's game? McLaughlin has struggled with having to wear a face mask since breaking his nose against Xavier. It has definitley thrown his game off.

McLaughlin is averaging just 14.0 points now after he began the year hovering around 20 points for the first five games prior to the injury. Last game, he made just two field goals (2-for-8) and only one came on an actual shot.

No Explosion - Before last game, it was noted that Nikola Jovanovic needs to play better with McLaughlin struggling. But Jovanovic has been facing his own injury issues. During the Xavier game, Jovanovic stepped on a Musketeer defender as he drove to the basket and his leg for an instant tried to spell the letter "L" as his sprained his ankle, with his foot going in a direction perpendicular from his leg rather than being in line. 

Jovanovic admitted after the UC Santa Barbara game that he probably should not have played against Monmouth. He had no explosion, which helps explain why he struggled to a 1-for-6 performance and just four poins in a season-low 18 minutes. Jovanovic's ankle still has some swelling, but is doing better. Against UC Santa Barbara, he had 14 points and five rebounds, making his money at the free throw line where he was a perfect 10-for-10.

Swat City USC is currently third in the nation in blocks per game, averaging 7.0. At least once a game, Chimezie Metu skies above the rim to reject a shot with a "Return to Sender" stamp. Metu leads the team with 20 blocks and many of them vicious, but he's not the only one.

Starting big men Bennie Boatwright and Nikola Jovanovic both are averaging a block per game. Guards Elijah Stewart and Julian Jacobs are both averaging at least a block every two games. It's been such a team effort that walk-on Samer Dhillon is the only Trojan that has played without a block this season.

Home Cooking - USC is shooting 45.5 percent for the season and 37.3 percent from three-point range, but they have been at home where the Trojans shot 49.4 percent and 39.6 percent in the first four games. They have averaged 92.5 points in the friendly confines of Galen Center.

Double Dip - Both USC and Idaho have done the rare double dip -- playing an opponent twice in the same non-conference schedule. Both teams also split those matchups. USC defeated Monmouth at home before losing to the Hawks in the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Fla. The Vandals were blown out at Bakersfield, losing 68-45, but got revenge at home. They beat the Roadrunners, 67-63.

Know Thy Enemy - Idaho is 5-4 on the season and is coming off a loss to another set of Trojans, losing 64-54 to Little Rock. The Vandals lost four of their five starters from last season and have now lost three of their last four. They are led by guard Victor Sanders and Perrion Callandret, who are the team's only two scorers averaging double figures. Sanders is coming off a career-high 24 points against Little Rock to push his average to 14.3 points. Callandret is scoring 13.9 points per game and also set a career high this season with 26 points against CSU Bakersfield.


Last Matchup: USC won 104-64 on Dec. 1, 1976.

The Trojans are 10-1 all time against Idaho, but the teams haven't played in nearly 40 years. The Trojans went a woeful 6-20 in 1976-77, but one of those wins was a 40-point beatdown as they put 104 points on the Vandals. USC has scored more than 104 points only 20 times in the history of the program.

Where to Watch:

Game Time, TV channel: 7:00 p.m. PST, Pac-12 Network (Roxy Bernstein, Don MacLean.

Radio: TuneIn Radio (Chris Fisher, Jordan Moore)

Follow Along: Gametracker. USC Twitter - @USC_Hoops; Idaho Twitter - @VandalHoops

Projected Starting Lineups:

G - Perrion Callandret (6-2 junior)
G - Chris Sarbaugh (6-4 senior)
G - Victor Sanders (6-5 sophomore)
G - Arkadiy Mkrtychyan (6-7 sophomore)
F - Nahshon George (6-9 senior)

G - Jordan McLaughlin (6-1 sophomore)
G - Julian Jacobs (6-4 junior)
G - Elijah Stewart (6-5 sophomore)
F - Bennie Boatwright (6-10 freshman)
F - Nikola Jovanovic (6-11 junior) Top Stories