The annual Men’s Basketball Pac-12 Media Day took place in San Francisco today at the studio headquarters of the Pac-12 Networks. Media Day always means one thing, the media poll, and this season they have the USC Trojans pegged to finish 9th in the Pac-12, while Arizona is No. 1 despite UCLA having more first place votes.
USC finished dead last in the Pac-12 last season, turning in their worst season ever, with a record of 1-17 in conference and 6-26 overall. For perspective, the football team has the same number of wins this season and are considered to be struggling, despite winning the same amount of games in 24 fewer contests.
On hand for the Trojans was head coach Kevin O’Neill and point guard Jio Fontan, where the two spoke to the media, as well as chummed with their peers in the conference.
O’Neill spoke at length about his confidence in the team’s ability to turn things around. “We only have three guys back from last year’s team, so we have a lot of new faces,” said O’Neill. “I haven’t had a group ever practice as hard as our group has practiced so far. We have legitimate size, we have depth.”
“I’m really excited about our team. I think we have a chance, if we can figure each other out, which we’re doing right now, to be a good basketball team.”
Kevin O’Neill will need the Trojans to figure themselves out, because if the they don’t improve in his fourth season at USC despite the deepest roster he’s had, O’Neill could be forced to figure himself out on the unemployment market.
The Trojans bring in three transfers with power conference experience, and as a whole, they’ll have four players who have played either in the ACC, Big Ten or SEC.
With a schedule that could include Illinois, North Carolina and San Diego State in a four game stretch, the Trojans will need all of the experience they can get.
The ninth place projection puts the Trojans just behind Craig Robinson’s Oregon State Beavers, and before a significant drop in votes to Brock Motum and the Washington State Cougars, who sit at 10th.
1. Arizona (15) 403
2. UCLA (16) 402
3. California (3) 325
4. Stanford 296
5. Washington (2) 278
6. Colorado 262
7. Oregon 217
8. Oregon State 166
9. USC 163
10. Washington State 111
11. Arizona State 107
12. Utah 78
First place votes in parentheses