February 26, 2010 |
Help, USC needs somebody . . . Help, not just anybody . . . No, to be specific, only help from California and Arizona State would do now for the Trojans -- that is, if they want to end their tumultuous season with an improbable league title win following Thursday's 54-44 loss to Oregon. Before the loss, USC needed just to win out and have California lose one game to be assured at least a share of the title. But now, the Trojans (16-11 overall, 8-7 in Pacific 10 Conference)
February 24, 2010 |
USC can beat the best, but not the worst this season. The Trojans are 7-1 versus the Pacific 10 Conference's top six teams and 1-5 against the current bottom four. USC Coach Kevin O'Neill's quick explanation was "most of those [losses] came on the road." USC's losses to Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford all came on the road, while Washington State beat USC both home and away. "The important thing," O'Neill continued, "is that we've been in every game with a chance to win it."
February 17, 2010 |
Blame cardboard-consistency airline food, unfamiliar beds and large quantities of opposing fans. But blame something, because Pacific 10 Conference teams don't travel well. Home teams are 44-19, with USC's Thursday night's matchup with Washington in Seattle featuring a paradoxical pair: Washington is 16-1 at home and 1-6 on the road. USC is 11-3 at home and 1-6 on the road. USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said the conference's lack of teams with veteran players, aside from California, the Pac-10 leader at 9-4, is why no team has fared well on the road.
February 16, 2010 |
USC guard Donte Smith made a clutch three-point basket against UCLA midway through the second half Sunday. The shot, from the left wing, boosted USC's lead to 52-47 with 8 minutes 42 seconds to play. After he made it, Smith swiveled his neck back and forth and smiled wide as he ran down the court. "I told my guys I was going to do that if I hit one," he said after USC's 68-64 victory. Smith matched his career high with 12 points in the game. But he hadn't been so happy of late, because he hadn't been playing.
February 13, 2010 |
Tick-tock, tick-tock . . . By Coach Kevin O'Neill's count, USC has about 14 hours of basketball left -- seven games at about two hours each -- a figure he can state with confidence because of the university's self-imposed ban on postseason play this year stemming from past indiscretions that neither he nor his players had anything to do with. Which is not to say they're not important hours. In fact, the two it will spend playing UCLA on Sunday are arguably USC's biggest this season.
February 7, 2010
A month ago, USC's Nikola Vucevic blew the game against Stanford. This came on a failed tip-in at the buzzer. He used one hand on that attempt, not two. So Trojans Coach Kevin O'Neill asked ever-so politely, "If you get a tip-in at the end, go up with two hands, please." Vucevic paid heed and proved it Saturday, using both his sizable mitts on a tip-in with 20.6 seconds left that gave the Trojans a lead and the eventual win over Stanford, 54-49, at the Galen Center. "He always tells me not to do stuff with one hand," said Vucevic, who had a team-high 18 points.