USC basketball gets a first place vote in preseason Pac-12 media poll

USC basketball at the Galen Center. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
USC basketball at the Galen Center. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

At least one media member has faith in USC basketball this season

USC basketball is in an interesting place, losing Onyeka Okongwu to the NBA Draft but adding five-star stud Evan Mobley to the mix.

Maybe that’s why expectations are so split for the Trojans as the 2020-21 season nears.

On Thursday, the Pac-12 announced the preseason media poll, with UCLA favored to win the conference, but first place votes being cast for Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and, you guessed it, USC.

USC basketball was picked to finish sixth in the conference

USC has one more first-place vote than Arizona to start the campaign, but they trail the Wildcats in the overall standings for the vote.

  1. UCLA (9) — 251 points
  2. Arizona State (5) — 246
  3. Oregon (7) — 241
  4. Stanford (1) — 209
  5. Arizona — 173
  6. USC (1) — 154
  7. Colorado — 149
  8. Utah — 131
  9. Washington — 85
  10. California — 65
  11. Washington State — 54
  12. Oregon State — 36

It’s safe to say no one knows exactly what to make of the 2020-21 season in the Pac-12. Last year’s preseason media poll had four teams with point totals above UCLA’s 251 for this year. Points are just more spread out this time around.

Last year USC was picked to finish fifth with a No. 1 vote as well. They outperformed that projection by finishing third in the conference with hopes of contending for their first NCAA tournament berth in two years. Instead, March Madness was canceled.

That team had to say goodbye to a bunch of key players including Nick Rakocevic, Jonah Mathews and Daniel Utomi. Freshman phenom Onyeka Okongwu will be the biggest piece to replace.

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Fortunately, USC does have Evan Mobley to look forward to, along with a host of transfers coming in to bolster the roster including former San Jose State guard, Wofford forward Chevez Goodwin and Santa Clara guard Tahj Eaddy.

The Trojans’ new-lock roster will have work to do to prove themselves, but the talent is definitely there.

Next. What's Coming For USC vs. Arizona?