The official team photo of the 2017-18 University of Southern California basketball team. Photo courtesy of usctrojans.com
USC TROJAN BASKETBALL: 2017-18 BY THE NUMBERS
Final Record: 24-12, 12-6 and second place in the Pac-12 Conference
- Won at least twenty games for the third consecutive season
- Made the Pac-12 Tournament Finals
- Won six straight games from January 10-28
- Was not chosen for the NCAA Tournament after a second place finish in the Pac-12 in the regular season AND the conference tournament
- Lost to Western Kentucky in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), 79-75, on March 19th
- NCAA CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS: Was one of several schools named in a FBI probe regarding bribery/coaches paying to get recruits; assistant coach Tony Bland was fired due to this issue, guard DeAnthony Melton was suspended for the season and eventually left school
Chimeze Metu (My Choice For Team Co-MVP): 15.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Bennie Boatwright: 13.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Jordan McLaughlin (My Choice For Team Co-MVP): 12.8 ppg, 7.8 apg
Elijah Stewart (All-Time Leader In Games Played & 3-Point Baskets): 11.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Points Leader: Metu, 533
Rebounds Leader: Metu, 253 (64 offensive)
Assists Leader: McLaughlin, 281
MY PICK FOR THE TROJANS’ BEST MOMENT OF 2017-18: Their 74-54 win over Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on March 9, 2018. Video courtesy of YouTube.
Final Analysis and Thoughts:
It’s safe to say that USC’s basketball team had was more disappointing this season than that of their crosstown rivals at UCLA, despite the fact that they won over twenty games for the third straight year and finished second in the Pac-12 – and not just because they were snubbed for the NCAA Tournament, either.
The biggest reason for this disappointment was that unlike their Bruin rivals in Westwood, MUCH was expected of these Trojans as they started this season ranked in the top ten in the polls, with a lot of people talking about them being possible contenders for the Final Four with all the talent they had returning.
Looking back, losing Bennie Boatwright, their second leading scorer and rebounder, for the season to injury really hurt ‘SC, as did them being swept by the Bruins; I had mentioned in another article on this site how losing to UCLA at Galen Center was (in my view) the main factor in their name not being called on Selection Sunday.
Here’s that article:
For the record, I felt bad for the USC squad and their students, alumni, and fans; I was certainly surprised at the snub as I thought they were more than good enough to be a shoo-in to the Big Dance.
And I still think that the Trojans should have gotten in.
There’s one other thing about Andy Enfield’s team that the Trojan Family should REALLY worry about going forward…
The FBI probe, as USC was one of the schools named in the college basketball corruption scandal.
First Reggie Bush.
Then O.J. Mayo.
If I were a USC fan or an alum, I would be fervently praying that the Trojan basketball program comes up clean by the feds, else; well…
I won’t say that they will get the death penalty, nor do I advocate such, but…
If the FBI finds something they don’t like and proves such, the sanctions that their football brothers were handed in 2010 will look like a trip to Disneyland compared to what the basketball guys – particularly Enfield as being the head coach, he bears the responsibility and will be held accountable – may well get.
Because of this, I have four words regarding what I see in store for USC next season:
I. Have. No. Idea.
If they do get the book thrown at them, it would be sad, even for this alum of their crosstown rival.
I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.
A MOMENT THAT DID MUCH TO KILL USC’S HOPES: Bennie Boatwright (#25) getting helped off as his season ended prematurely due to injury. Photo courtesy of fanragsports.com