USC Basketball officially opens season unranked in AP Top 25 Poll
By Evan Desai
USC Basketball was left off of the preseason AP Top 25 poll on Monday. Many would say that this was expected, as SC was going to have plenty to prove with Isaiah Mobley not back and off to the NBA.
SC did return Pac-12 Player of the Year hopeful Drew Peterson and First-Team All-Pac 12 hopeful Boogie Ellis, but will be relying on an elite recruiting class a little too much for the AP's liking. Part of the problem is that the No. 1 player in that top seven 2022 recruiting class for SC, five-star center Vince Iwuchukwu, is indefinitely out after cardiac arrest in July.
While SC will still be bringing in four-star Power Forward Kijani Wright and four-star Small Forward Tre White (all recruiting ratings and rankings in article are as of 247Sports), they very well may not have that full class of three blue-chip guys coming in and working to offset SC missing Mobley. The Trojans also were sure to leave a bad taste in the voters' mouths when they got bounced first round in the NCAA Tournament last year.
SC did receive votes for the preseason poll. While votes are certainly not enough to spark optimism around this team, it does go to show that maybe they could have been ranked if Iwuchukwu was around. That could foreshadow that the Trojans could end up jumping into the poll if he ends up getting back and healthy during the season.
USC Basketball received three votes in the preseason poll.
USC Basketball is tied for 13th when it comes to the teams receiving votes that did not make the preseason poll. So still, they are decently far off from a top 25 team. They'll get their first chance to prove the voters wrong on November 7th against Florida Gulf Coast. Interestingly, that's USC Head Coach Andy Enfield's former team.
Looking back at his time there, he made the Sweet 16 in a year where he was supposed to be a first round exit. He's proven the ability to overachieve before, and even did just two years ago at SC in his Elite Eight run. The Trojans will be searching for more Enfield magic this season if they want to set the talent they'll likely have next year up for strong success.