Just three days removed from a heartbreaking 70-68 loss to Kansas at the famed Allen Fieldhouse, USC (6-5) travels to Knoxville, Tenn. for a showdown with No. 18 Tennessee (7-2).
Yet, despite the Trojans' 22-point victory over the Volunteers in 2009 and UT's recent struggles, USC remains 0-3 on the road this season and has won just once away from Galen Center this season. In short, don't necessarily expect Kevin O'Neill's team to hold a decisive advantage.
But no question, the Volunteers have had their fair share of difficulties in recent weeks. Despite an impressive seven-point victory at No. 3 Pittsburgh on Dec. 11, rising to No. 7 in the Associated Press rankings, they have since lost to Oakland (Mich.) and Charlotte by scores of 89-82 and 49-48 respectively.
"I think we're a good team that had a bad week, but we've got to go prove that now," said freshman Tobias Harris in a story published by Wes Rucker of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "We had mental lapses, but I think we'll turn it back around next week. Everyone's got to understand what their role and their position on this basketball team is. Once we put that together, I think we'll be fine."
The matchup also marks the return of head coach Kevin O'Neill, who served as the Tennessee headman from 1994-1997, before a disagreement with the athletic director forced him to leave for Northwestern.
"If I had to do it over, I probably would have stayed," O'Neill told Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times.
For more news and notes on USC basketball, check out SBN's Conquest Chronicles.