USC Basketball had a very up-and-down trip to the Bahamas this past week for the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis. The trip started with a bang--and a win against a 3-1 BYU team. SC won the turnover battle 17-14, and won the game 82-76. Their next game was against No. 22 Tennessee, and they lost the turnover battle by a landslide--20-11. They dropped the contest 73-66 in overtime.
They could have had a ranked win and a trip to the Championship round of the tournament, but SC's turnover issues popped up again. It's similar to when they would lose last year. Sure, they have guards who can score at high clips, but the turnovers sometimes seep in too. It needed to be fixed this year if they wanted to have a good year.
Star Combo Guard Drew Peterson struggled after playing well against BYU. Against BYU, he made six of 12 shots for 16 points. He passed out six assists, and picked up 10 rebounds. He had a steal, and perhaps his best stat from the game was that he had just one turnover. Against Tennessee, however, he only had nine points on four of 10 shooting. He had seven(!) turnovers to five assists.
Blaming the game on Peterson would be ridiculous, but it was just tough to see Peterson play like that because Trojan fans know how much more capable he is. He was First-Team All-PAC 12 last year.
And even when he played well overall in the next game (17 points, 10 rebounds), he still turned it over five times. SC lost that game for the third-place title to Wisconsin; 64-59. And those turnovers meant so much in that game. They likely don't lose if they win the turnover battle. Instead, they lost it 14-8.
It's like when SC lost a terrible upset to Florida Gulf Coast in the opener. They lost the turnover battle in that game, 15-11. There's a common pattern that's clear here. Especially when in three of the four games USC has won the turnover battle in, they have won the game.
USC Basketball is tied for 293rd(!) in the country with 15.3 turnovers per game.
USC Basketball is also tied for just 232nd with an 0.93 assist to turnover ratio. They need to be better in protecting the basketball. It's tough when it's coming from guys that are too good to be turning the ball over too, like against Wisconsin when Peterson had five turnovers and against Tennessee when he had seven and Reese Dixon-Waters had five.
Peterson is a great player, and Dixon-Waters is a very talented ex-four star guy (247Sports). None of that has changed, but it's important for those two be two players that SC has step up when they have a key piece in Vince Iwuchukwu down. They're capable of it, and will need to get back on track against California on Wednesday.