Southern California’s story has been a really great one all season. Andy Enfield is doing a nice job of turning the program around, and there’s a lot to be excited about going forward there.
Having said that, the Trojans need to figure some things out if they want to make this NCAA Tournament.
USC was blown out Thursday by Stanford 84-64. It’s worth noting that the Cardinal have been pretty solid at home this season, going 10-5 so far, but Johnny Dawkins’ group is still the second-worst team in the league according to KenPom and the No. 72 RPI team. Regardless of venue, it’s not a great look to lose to that team by 20 points.
Dorian Pickens was the best player on the floor in this one, scoring 25 points and grabbing six rebounds while knocking down five 3-pointers. Those 25 points nearly equalled the output of USC’s entire backcourt of Julian Jacobs, Jordan McLaughlin, Katin Reinhardt and Elijah Stewart. Rosco Allen was also pretty terrific, scoring 17 points on only seven field goal attempts and dishing out four assists.
Overall, the Cardinal shot 47 percent from the field and generally got whatever they wanted against a USC defense that has some pretty signficant issues to fix. The Trojans gave up over 1 point per possession in five of their seven previous games as they hemorrhage open shots to their opponents.
And given the Trojans’ remaining schedule, that’s a pretty precarious position to be in. USC has to play Cal this weekend on the road, then go home to face Oregon and Oregon State. To feel safe, it probably needs to win two of those games. Luckily, USC has only lost one home game this season. But the Trojans have now dropped four of five and need to do some improvement in order to make this turnaround complete with an NCAA Tournament appearance.