September 20, 2013 by Max Meyer
By Max Meyer
Galen Central’s new weekly series will preview the basketball team of USC’s football opponent. With the USC football squad playing Utah State on Saturday, here is a preview of the Aggies’ basketball team. Read an earlier previews of Washington State and Boston College.
USC opens up its 2013-14 basketball season at Utah State. However, Andy Enfield’s debut will be an extremely tough game because of how talented the Aggies are.
Utah State is led by junior standout guard Preston Medlin. Medlin was the preseason WAC player of the year last season. He averaged 16.3 points with more than three assists and rebounds per game before suffered a fractured wrist in mid-January.
Medlin is a fantastic shooter who has great range, as he shot 47 percent from the field including 39 percent from three-point range.
Utah State began last season 14-1, but once they lost Medlin and fourth-highest scorer Kyisean Reed, the Aggies struggled down the stretch.
Utah State had nine players who averaged at least 20 minutes per game last season, and Reed is the only guy who isn’t returning for this season. Three double-digit scorers return: Medlin, big man Jarred Shaw (14.2 points and eight rebounds per game) and guard Spencer Butterfield (12.2 points per game).
Shaw could be a major potential mismatch against USC, because he’s very physical and has a strong offensive game. Trojan center Omar Oraby will have trouble out-rebounding him, and needs to get Shaw into foul trouble. Shaw averaged almost three fouls in just under 30 minutes per game.
Butterfield, even though he’s only 6’3″, is a strong rebounder at over six rebounds a game. Butterfield is also a great three-point shooter, and USC will need to defend the perimeter extremely well against him and Medlin.
Utah State’s two biggest strengths as a team are depth and experience. Considering USC is under a new coach and has a very young roster this season, this first game could be a real battle for the Trojans. Don’t underestimate Utah State’s home crowd either.