USC basketball has enjoyed an exciting season, but the Trojans cannot hang their hat on beating UCLA alone. The Pac-12 tournament and beyond awaits.
After USC beat UCLA in front of a sold out Galen Center back on February 4, the Trojans were riding high and looking like contenders for the top spot in the Pac 12. A month later, USC had mustered only two more wins.
UCLA lost both matchups to USC this season, but the Bruins will be lucky to make the NIT after their worst finish since the 1940s. That’s not exactly something to hang your hat on as quality wins if you’re the Trojans.
It’s obvious that this talented but very young team isn’t quite ready for prime time, especially when their focus seems to be the same as the fan base that only cares if the Trojans are at least competitive against their crosstown rival.
In football USC is expected to win every single time they play UCLA. The Bruins are a state-funded program and USC boosters in their heart of hearts only care about 11 of the 100 plus national championships the school boasts.
USC needs to get into the basketball competitive arena, but everyone including the team is going to need to care about beating everyone in the conference as well as UCLA, who takes basketball as seriously as USC does about football.
The Trojans went 16-2 at home, and that is a showcase of talent. They went 3-9 on the road and that’s a showcase of youth.
The fans are guilty. I’m guilty. I wrote three pieces on Trojan basketball during the 2015-16 regular season. One about the snooze fest that was the non-conference schedule, and two that came after UCLA victories. My attitude needs adjusting as well.
Coach Enfield will hopefully be coaching the same team next season, a team that will recruit better and will have gained the knowledge of what it is to be a winning program.
The Trojans went 16-2 at home, and that is a showcase of talent. They went 3-9 on the road and that’s a showcase of youth. They finished the Pac-12 schedule with a .500 record and that’s a showcase of how tough the conference is.
Quite frankly, the Pac-12 is a basketball conference. USC needs to be a part of the conversation every single year, not a forgotten footnote as that rich football school that could care less about the only other collegiate sport that creates revenue.
More from Reign of Troy
- Five USC football recruiting stories to watch for on Early Signing Day for 2021
- USC football’s playoff hopes sorely hurt by latest College Football Playoff ranking
- 3 biggest takeaways from USC football’s win over UCLA
- USC football to play Oregon in Pac-12 Championship Game with Washington out
- USC football’s postgame locker room after beating UCLA was absolutely lit (Video)
USC now heads into the Pac-12 tournament coming off road absences against Arizona State, Arizona, Cal and Stanford, as well as home losses against the two best teams in the conference in Utah and Oregon. Their two wins came at home in come-from-behind fashion against Colorado and in dominant fashion against Oregon State.
The Trojans clinched the No. 7 seed and will probably need to beat, you guessed it, UCLA again to ensure a March Madness birth.
USC needs to look past Westwood when it comes to the hardwood in the long term. Ironically, the start of that comes with the opportunity to end UCLA’s season and make a statement around the conference and the country comes on Wednesday, March 9.