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The Preview You Must View: Kansas @ Southern California

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Two teams whose seasons are headed in different directions: the Kansas Jayhawks are likely headed for a finish near the top of the Big 12 while the USC Trojans will probably hang around the middle of the pack in a mediocre Pac-12.

Kansas is coming off a loss to Davidson on Monday night and would like to get back on the winning track. Also on Monday, USC beat TCU but a win tonight would do wonders for a young team.

The KU-USC breakdown is waiting for you after the jump.

Don't let the record fool you. Southern California may be 5-7 so far but they've had a couple of close calls with good clubs: losing to San Diego State by 2 and New Mexico by 3. Sophomore guard Maurice Jones leads the team in points (15.6) and assists (3.7) but he can't do it all the time. Staying fresh has been an obstacle for Jones, who plays 39 minutes a night. Iowa transfer Aaron Fuller chips in 11.3 points and leads the Trojans in rebounding (6.9) but there's not much else USC can hang their hat on.

USC has been without their leading returning scorer Jio Fontan who tore his ACL during the summer. Despite that the Trojans still have a chance tonight. They're ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 55 points a contest as opposed to Kansas' scoring average of 75 points.

It may not seem right, but Kansas (7-3) is playing their first official road game of the season. The Jayhawks would love to get the bad taste out of their mouths from Monday's loss but this is a real test. Think about it: KU's playing a team that hasn't fared well this season so far. This game on paper rules in Kansas' favor and because of that, the Jayhawks could play with complacency and no sense of urgency on the court. Southern Cal knows that this is their last shot before conference play to atone for their close losses to SDSU and UNM, so KU should be careful.

Forward Thomas Robinson has played every bit like an All-American for Kansas. Back from surgery, Tyshawn Taylor has become a consistent scorer but turnovers are still a glaring problem for the senior. Just to give an idea of how often he turns it over, Taylor averages 4.9 assists and 4.4 turnovers. Hopefully the Davidson loss was a wakeup call so Taylor can be a more reliable ball handler.

I imagine Kansas redeems themselves after a poor outing and edge the Trojans. If you do have some free time when you're not wrapping presents, Kansas at Southern California can be seen tonight at 10pm central on Fox Sports Net.