USC schedule features matchups with Nevada, TCU

Rising redshirt senior Derryck Thronton squares up against a Cal State Fullerton defender at the Galen Center. Last season, the 195-pound guard recorded a .363 shooting percentage as well as a season-best 11 points and four rebounds in the same match. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The USC men’s basketball team announced its 2018-19 regular season schedule this past month, which will feature tough non-conference matchups.

Along with eight non-conference home games at Galen Center, the Trojans will welcome their Pac-12 foes Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Oregon State.

Although the Trojans have the same number of home games this season as they did last season, the three-game home stretch against UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State contrasts last season’s three-game stretch when the Trojans went on the road to play the same teams.

Speaking of contrast, while USC saw Washington and Washington State at home for their first conference games of 2018, they will instead go on the road in 2019 to play the Huskies and Cougars in the middle of the season.

The Trojans will also break last season’s precedent by ending their Pac-12 schedule with games on the road against Colorado and Utah. This will be the first time since 2015 that the Trojans do not end their regular season at the Galen Center.

In terms of Troy’s non-conference offerings, head coach Andy Enfield and the team will look forward to games against highly-touted Nevada and TCU, and rematches against Oklahoma, Vanderbilt and Santa Clara.

After advancing to the Sweet 16 last season, the Wolf Pack come into 2018 as a preseason top-25 ball club and a favorite to win the Mountain West with a roster that returns a majority of their players, including four of their five starters.

Not to mention, USC will also be a part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo. and could encounter either Texas Tech, Nebraska or Missouri State.

Like Nevada, Texas Tech made waves in last year’s March Madness bracket, taking its run all the way to the Elite Eight last season, where they lost to eventual champion Villanova.

If the Trojans can squeak out a win over either Nevada, TCU or Texas Tech, they could potentially land themselves in the top-25 rankings.

Aside from top teams like Nevada, Texas Tech and NIT participants Nebraska, Stetson, UC Davis and Southern Utah will make their first ever trips to Troy.

Meanwhile the Trojans trounced Robert Morris University 92-77 in their first and only meeting back in December 1991.

For the first time since 2016, USC will battle four in-state opponents in Cal State Bakersfield, UC Davis, Long Beach State and Santa Clara during their non-conference slate.

The last time USC played both CSUB and LBSU, the Trojans split the series in 2013-14, beating Bakersfield 63-59 at home and then dropping the next game to Long Beach on the road 72-71.

All in all, the Trojans sport an all-time 51-29 combined record against their non-conference opponents, including wins and losses vacated due to USC’s 2009 sanctions.

After going undefeated in their 2017 non-conference schedule, the pre-season No. 10 Trojans dropped three-straight to Texas A&M, SMU and Oklahoma. They also suffered a wacky 103-93 overtime loss to Princeton, escaping 2018 with a 9-4 non-conference record.

USC’s first game of the 2018 season will take place against Robert Morris on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.