We don’t know much about the opponent. That’s a challenge, trying to decide what to prepare for and what to expect. ... We can find out as much as we can about personnel, but we don’t have any film to work with. —Stew Morrill, USU head basketball coach
LOGAN — There is always a bit of mystery involved when a college basketball team takes the court for the first time in a season. There are many unknown quantities: incoming players, the development of returning players, new coaches and new styles — among other things.
When Utah State opens its season Friday night, it will be taking on a USC team that is nearly impossible to scout. The Trojans only played closed scrimmages in the preseason, so there is no available film for USU head coach Stew Morrill to review. USC has a brand-new head coach, Andy Enfield, who coached Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 last season. And the Trojans have several new players.
“We don’t know much about the opponent,” Morrill said. “That’s a challenge, trying to decide what to prepare for and what to expect. They have a new coach in Andy Enfield. We can go off his performance with Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA tournament last year, which was spectacular. We can find out as much as we can about personnel, but we don’t have any film to work with.”
The Trojans are the first Pac-12 team to play at the Spectrum since Washington visited in December 1977.
The Aggies are also facing some unknowns this year.
With a slew of new players, there will be plenty of lineup configurations for Morrill to figure out. Meanwhile, the returning players have questions of their own as Spencer Butterfield returns from hip surgery; Preston Medlin from a broken wrist; and Danny Berger from a heart attack.
And Utah State knows it will have its hands full defensively against USC.
“We’re guarding Pac-12 athletes,” Morrill said. “That’s a concern as to where we’re at. We’re going to find out in a hurry where we’re at. This is like playing a good Mountain West team. We’ll get a good gauge as to how we can guard that kind of athleticism and size.”
USC at Utah State
Friday, Nov. 8 2013. 7 p.m. MST
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270). Logan, Utah
Radio: Aggie Sports Network
TV: CBS Sports Network
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.