Kansas State Wildcats (0-0) vs USC Trojans (0-0)
2023-11-06 22:00:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: Kansas State Wildcats +3 -- Over/Under: 143
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The 21st-ranked USC Trojans are set to clash with the Kansas State Wildcats in a season-opening showdown at T-Mobile Arena in the Hall of Fame series. USC aims to build on a 22-11 record, looking to avenge their first-round March Madness exit. Kansas State roars in off a strong 26-10 finish, eager to prove last season’s success was no fluke. With Vegas lights shining, both teams are itching to start with a statement win. With a lot of starpower and excitement, this should be a fun game to be ready for.
USC Trojans’ Quest for Glory: A Blend of Veteran Savvy and Fresh Talent Ready to Dominate the Hardwood
The USC Trojans are back on the hardwood, and they’re a force to be reckoned with in the 2023-2024 season. Coming off a respectable 22-11 record last season, the Trojans aim to elevate their game to the next level.
The loss of key players like forward Drew Peterson (13.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.3 apg) and guard Reese Dixon-Waters (9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) creates a vacuum in scoring and playmaking as they were two of the top three scoring options last season. However, the Trojans have a stellar lineup of returning talent ready to fill the gap. Senior guard Boogie Ellis is the marquee player, putting up 17.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game last season. Alongside him, guard Kobe Johnson and forward Joshua Morgan add depth and versatility, contributing significantly in scoring and rebounding.
But the Trojans are not just relying on veterans. Freshmen guard Isaiah Collier and forward Brandon Gardner bring youthful energy, while the highly-anticipated Bronny James is expected to make an immediate impact when he gets on the field but after suffering cardiac arrest in July, he will not be available for the beginning of his freshman season. The transfer of senior forward DJ Rodman from Washington State could also be a game-changer.
Last season, the Trojans had a scoring offense averaging 72.5 points (158th nationally), while their defense allowed only 67.4 points (96th nationally). They shot 45.5% from the field and held their opponents to just shooting 39.3 percent from the floor, ranking them first in the conference in field-goal defense.
While the Trojans were less than stellar beyond the arc, averaging 6.5 three-pointers per game, their free-throw shooting was strong at 74.5 percent, ranking third in the Pac-12. The team will need to improve on the boards, as they had a rebound margin of -0.5 last season, which could be critical in close games.
With a mix of seasoned vets and promising rookies, the USC Trojans are poised for a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Coach Andy Enfield, with a 205-129 record at USC, has the experience to lead this team to new heights. The Trojans are ranked #21 overall and are the team to beat in the Pac-12. Buckle up, Trojan fans—this season promises to be a thrilling ride.
Kansas State Wildcats: A Season of Rebuilding and Reckoning—Can New Blood Ignite a Deep Tournament Run?
The Kansas State Wildcats enter the 2023-2024 season with tempered optimism. After a 26-10 record last season, they’ve got their eyes on the NCAA tournament once again. Coach Jerome Tang will be looking to build on his impressive 26-10 season in his first year as a head coach, but he faces the daunting task of replacing key departed players.
The Wildcats will sorely miss guard Markquis Nowell, who led the charge with 17.6 points and an impressive 8.2 assists per game. Forward Keyontae Johnson also leaves a sizable hole, contributing 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The departures of guard Desi Sills, forward Ismael Massoud (Georgetown), center Abayomi Iyiola and guard Tykei Greene further deplete the roster.
However, it’s not all gloom for the Wildcats. Returning forward senior Nae’Qwan Tomlin will be expected to step up, especially in the scoring and rebounding departments, where he averaged 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds last season. Junior guard Cam Carter and senior forward David N’Guessan must also play more significant roles; they contributed 6.5 and 6.4 points per game, respectively.
Kansas State welcomes a wave of new talent that could change the game. Transfers Jerrell Colbert from LSU (redshirted last season) and Arthur Kaluma from Creighton bring much-needed experience. Freshmen guards Dai Dai Ames and R.J. Jones, along with senior guard transfer Tylor Perry from North Texas, add depth to the guard position. These newcomers must mesh quickly to bolster a scoring offense that averaged 75.5 points per game and a defense that allowed 69.9 points last season.
Statistically, the Wildcats were strong in field-goal percentage, clocking in at 46.1 percent, and tied for the Big 12 lead with the Texas Longhorns in free-throw percentage at 74.8 percent. Defensively, they were fifth, allowing opponents a 42.4 shooting percentage.
This season will be a tale of two halves for Kansas State: the experienced returners and the promising recruits. How well they integrate could be the difference between a deep postseason run or an early exit. With a balanced attack and a focus on tightening their defense, the Wildcats have the tools to climb the Big 12 ladder. Keep an eye on this squad—they’re a dark horse capable of making noise.
David’s Pick – USC Trojans
The choice is clear: the USC Trojans will outclass the Kansas State Wildcats. With a solid core led by senior guard Boogie Ellis, who notched 17.7 points per game last season, the Trojans have both firepower and experience. Kansas State may have posted a better record last year, but they’ve lost key players like Markquis Nowell, leaving a void in offensive output. USC, on the other hand, has plugged their gaps with high-caliber transfers and rookies like Bronny James. On defense, USC held opponents to just 39.3 percent shooting, leading their conference. Wildcats trailed in defense, allowing a 42.4 percent opponent shooting rate. Trust coach Andy Enfield and his squad to seal the deal.