Equating USC basketball to UCLA football is like debating the differences between Yin and Yang. They’re opposites in every literal explanation possible, but identical in every comprehensive analysis of the two. Both play the role of little brother, overplay the
always misleading “throw the records out the window” mumbo-jumbo when playing their crosstown rival, struggle to recruit despite being located in a goldmine of talent, and fail to bring in top notch coaches while having a perpetual air of skepticism surrounding their respective programs.
UCLA’s football squad laid an egg at the Coliseum less than two months ago, and a gooseegg to be exact. And while many saw it more as a display of the strength of USC’s reemergence to the AP’s Top 5, to many UCLA alums, it was an expected letdown.
Sunday night at the Galen Center, with the Trojans entering on a 5-game losing streak and an 0-4 record in Pac-12 play, the feeling around Troy echoed that of Westwood on November 26, and much like UCLA Football’s humiliating 50-0 loss to their “big brother”, Kevin O’Neill’s Trojans found themselves in the exact same predicament on the hardwood to their’s.
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The Trojans never had a rhythm, lacked enthusiasm and were out-hustled throughout, in what would be labeled by guard Alexis Moore, as an “embarrassing” 66-47 loss to UCLA. They were out-rebounded 39-17, and USC’s leading scorer, Maurice Jones, only had one more point (13) than both Robert Woods and Marquis Lee each had against UCLA on the gridiron. That’s not even mentioning the obvious statistic, that Lane Kiffin’s Trojans outscored Kevin O’Neill’s bunch by three points.
Sure, the Trojans have had more injuries than a Russian squadron during World War I, but that fails to explain the disappointments of the team, especially on a night that the Trojans honored not only the most talented player in the program’s history, but the one player whose career path epitomized USC Men’s Basketball perfectly. Harold Miner’s “Baby Jordan” name gave USC glitz and glamour. He brought hype and promise, hopes and anticipation. And while for a time during his tenure at the beginning of the 90s, Miner and USC deserved all of the attention he and the team received, in true USC hoops fashion, they fizzled when expectations set in, leading themselves to nothing but disappointment. The same can be said for the 2002 team, the O.J. Mayo era debacle, and even back to the 60s and 70s, when the Trojans were always one tall step away from climbing glory’s ladder.
So while seeing Harold Miner’s No. 23 be placed into USC immortality at the Galen Center in theory offered a proud moment for USC Basketball, in reality, it just set the stage for an expected letdown.