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Game Preview: Cal State Northridge Matadors look to slow down USC Trojans

Cal State Northridge will have its hands full with the efficient, high-scoring offense of the USC Trojans.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Cal State Northridge Matadors at USC Trojans

Coaches: Reggie Theus (69-67 overall, 28-44 at CSUN, 3rd year at CSUN); Andy Enfield (67-69 overall, 26-41 at USC, 3rd year at USC)

All Time Record: CSUN has a 1-6 all time record against USC

Player to Watch (CSUN): Jason Richardson

Player to Watch (USC): Jordan McLaughlin

Records: CSUN (2-2), USC (3-0)

The Matadors and the Trojans come together at the Galen Center for their eighth all time meeting. The Matadors played an unknown opponent in Vanguard last game, winning 72-52. In the victory, leading scorer Jason Richardson scored 14 points and as a team the Matadors shot 50 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line.

USC, in its last game against New Mexico, had Jordan McLaughlin score 19 along with Elijah Stewart chipping in 18.

Inside the Numbers


CSUN (NCAA Rank)

USC (NCAA Rank)

Offensive Rating

103.6 (189th)

120.7 (30th)

Defensive Rating

100.4 (191st)

95.6 (130th)

Points per game

71.8 (239th)

91.3 (18th)

Points against per game

69.5 (144th)

72.3 (196th)

Field Goal Percentage per game

.479 (84th)

.497 (44th)

Field Goal Percentage against per game

.414 (151st)

.362 (54th)

Total Rebounds

145 (120th)

136 (159th)

Turnovers

52 (233rd)

35 (69th)

The Matadors primary strength is on the offensive end where they are in the top 100 team in Division 1 in field goal percentage. Olaleken Ajayi (70 percent) and Tre Hale-Edmerson (51 percent) have led the team so far with each averaging close to nine points per game. Turnovers have been a struggle in the first four games for the Matadors, having given up an average of 13 per game.

The Trojans have a crisp offensive system from coach Andy Enfield coming into its own. In three games, the Trojans have scored 83, 101, and 90 points with a very efficient field goal percentage. Defense is a struggle so far with USC having given up 90 and 82 points their last two games. They have struggled to keep leading scorers in check having given up 28 to Monmouth’s Justin Robinson and 25 to New Mexico’s Tim Williams. Look for CSUN leading scorer Jason Richardson to score in bunches Monday.

Matchup to Watch

Look for guard play to be of the utmost importance in this game. Look for Jason Richardson (16 ppg) and Michael Warren (14.3 ppg) to score a lot tonight. For the Trojans you can expect Jordan McLaughlin (20.3 ppg) and Elijah Stewart (17.3 ppg) to pour it in for USC.

Prediction

Even with the high scoring ways of Richardson and Warren, on paper it would seem CSUN will lose in a big way tonight.

USC 95, Cal State Northridge 77