The USC Trojans looked really good in their season-opening win over Kansas State two weeks ago. They looked very good in their second game of the season against Cal State Bakersfield. They have not looked good at all in their last two games. They did beat Brown on Sunday night to move to 3-1, but they have a lot to clean up as they head to San Diego for a two-day Thanksgiving weekend tournament which begins on Thursday.
The loss to UC Irvine last week had a reasonable explanation: Boogie Ellis and Kobe Johnson could not play due to injuries. Without two of their three best players, the Trojans are dramatically weaker and less formidable. They played without Kobe Johnson against Bakersfield, but they still had Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier. That was enough to get the job done comfortably and smoothly.
With only Collier on the floor against Irvine, the elite point guard lacked a teammate who could hit shots and space out the defense. USC without any two of its top three players is a bubble team at best and very likely an NIT team. USC with at least two of the big three is a noticeably better team.
USC with all three of its top players should be a good team, even with D.J. Rodman out, which was the case against Brown on Sunday. Rodman was a late scratch due to an undisclosed reason for this Sunday night game, but even then, USC should not have had to sweat this win against its Ivy League opponent.
With 2:15 left in regulation, USC was clinging to a tenuous 70-68 lead. It took a weaksauce technical foul call against Brown to give USC a six-point cushion, at 74-68. The Trojans missed 11 free throws, committed 12 turnovers, allowed 11 offensive rebounds to an undersized Brown team, and got just three points from their starting frontcourt of Josh Morgan and Harrison Hornery.
USC has to be dramatically better than this if it wants to beat Seton Hall on Thursday in San Diego, and then either Oklahoma or Iowa on Friday.
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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/usc-basketball-wins-ugly-uncomfortable-035133012.html
Author : Trojans Wire
Publish date : 2023-11-20 03:51:33
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