USC Solidifies Itself as Pac-12's Worst Team (Again)

By Evan Barnes
Daniel Shirey – USA TODAY Sports Images

There’s no beating around the bush anymore. I’ve been wanting to spare USC despite calling for Kevin O’Neill’s job. I openly hoped that they would turn the corner and show signs that they were improving from their terrible start. But after losing to Georgia on Saturday, it’s time to be honest. USC is the worst team in the Pac-12 and it’s not even close.

At 4-8, the Trojans have lost seven of their last eight games since beating Texas on November 20. Their only win was against an over-matched UC Riverside team and right now, they look like they have only marginally improved from last year. And marginally might be generous.

They are next-to-last among Pac-12 teams in scoring (63.2 points per game) while allowing 63.5 per game. They’re last in rebounding and watching them settle for too many jump shots, it’s no surprise they’re

Their scoring leader? Eric Wise with a meager 10.6 ppg. Wise is one of the only players I’ve seen play with heart and I applaud him for his effort. He shouldn’t be the leading scorer on this team because his game is about establishing an inside presence, not as a go-to-guy. But alas, he’s only one of two Trojans averaging double figures.

The only other player I’m impressed with Omar Oraby, who should be starting in my opinion. He had his first double-double of the season and he shares the team lead in blocks with 1.7 per game. Why he’s only averaging 14.6 minutes a game and not starting ahead of Dewayne Dedmon is beyond me.

The rest of the lineup is filled with disappointment. Jio Fontan has been a turnover machine, averaging 3.0 per game. JT Terrell takes way more shots than he should while shooting a paltry 31.8% from the field. Their bench is full of guys who either deserve more minutes or just aren’t productive for whatever reason.

And yes, it all goes back to Kevin O’Neill. As bad as guys aren’t producing on the court, it all falls back to his shortcomings as a head coach. For the second straight season, USC has been an eyesore to watch as they set offensive basketball back years and there’s no reason O’Neill should keep his job. Does anybody expect the Trojans to turn it around once Pac-12 play starts?

The only good news is that USC might not be as bad as they were last year. They just haven’t improved at all and it’s going to be deja vu all over again for the few Trojans fans still having faith.

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