When the red-hot Drew Peterson threw up that last shot at nearly half court to try to win USC basketball's first March Madness game at the buzzer, we were all a little pessimistic. Not pessimistic that Peterson would miss the shot. Heck, he had just shot SC back into the game with three consecutive clutch buckets (two threes).
We were pessimistic due to the fact that it appeared that SC was toast in the tournament. There was no way SC could beat Auburn next game if they can barely beat the Hurricanes. When the team lost, it was seen as even more embarrassing for the fan base.
Little did SC fans know, however, that Miami would go and beat two-seeded Auburn by an insane 18 points. From then on, it was smooth sailing in the Sweet 16 as the 10-seed routed 11-seeded Iowa State by 14. They didn't beat Kansas in the Elite Eight, but they certainly ended up proving that they were a great team all along.
USC basketball's loss now looks slightly better after seeing Miami shine so bright in the rest of the tournament.
USC basketball now looks a little better than they did when they lost to a Miami team who was coming out of what was thought of as a weak conference. Duke was the only ACC team that finished in the top 25, but then three ACC teams ended up making the Elite 8.
Miami's 23-10 record during the season wasn't impressive, but clearly they were playing in a pretty impressive conference against tough competition. They didn't have a lot of size, but they sure knew how to force turnovers. They proved that them being second-to-last in the ACC in field goal percentage allowed (46.5%) was a misleading stat, holding Auburn to a 30.4% field goal percentage in the Round of 32, and Iowa State to a 36.8% field goal percentage in the Sweet 16.
Nobody in the USC fan base is looking for moral victories. The Canes' run doesn't make SC fans feel significantly better by any means. It does, however, provide objective reasoning to accept that SC had a tougher first round matchup than previously thought. Drawing one of the top eight teams in the country in the First Round isn't a favorable situation, and taking them to the buzzer shows that SC may have been a bit better than what many thought after they lost that first game.