USC 56, Arizona 50
USC basketball makes me feel differently than USC football. That is to say Kevin O'Neill's undermanned but tough-as-nails team brings me joy while Pete Carroll's underachieving, arrogant group of rule breakers leave me frustrated.
Now that football season is over (at least for USC after its unimpressive win in the Emerald Bowl) I can now concentrate on basketball. The Trojans have been one of the big surprises of the college basketball season. After struggling in the first eight games (including tough matchups at Texas, at Georgia Tech) USC was 4-4 and all the prognosticators that picked the Trojans to finish ninth in conference looked line geniuses. Following Tim Floyd's abrupt resignation following allegations of paying O.J. Mayo the Trojan program suffered an exodus of talent. Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett and DeMar DeRozan all bolted early to the pros. USC also lost at least four recruits, including three (Lamont Jones, Solomon Hill and Derrick Williams) to Arizona.
But USC received a boost when Charlotte PG transfer Mike Gerrity and suspended forward Leonard Washington were allowed to play.
Washington brought some much needed depth to a squad that only has a single freshman on scholarship. But it was Gerrity who instantly fixed USC's ballhandling issues. He led the Trojans to an upset win over Tennessee. And since Mike's arrival the Trojans are undefeated, winning the inaugural Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii (including wins against St. Mary's and UNLV) followed by Thursday's victory.
Currently USC's RPI ranges in the 40's and the Trojans are on pace to reach the NCAA tournament, a monumental turnaround for a program that was in disarray only a month ago.