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  • Low basketball IQ has cost us a great conference season...

    After the UW debacle, we've lost three road games by 1, 3, and 2 points. Close out those games, all three of which we had double digit leads at some point, and we're 11-1 in conference. There really haven't been any close wins. WE SHOULD LITERALLY BE 11-1 IN CONFERENCE. Yet we're on the cusp of not making the Tournament at all because at the end of games a veteran team does dumb things.

    Lets enumerate the dumb things we did...

    1. Stupid fouls late. These are the three in order of smartest to dumbest: Stewart's ridiculous reach in when the ASU guy dribbled in the lane, Mathews jostling the shot at the free throw line which they had missed all night and which fouled him out, and Aaron's extraordinarily foolish foul of a guard getting a defensive rebound, which gave them two shots without running any time. Infuriating fouls.

    2. Benny Boatwright's turnovers. Our bigs have an infuriating habit of trying to bring the ball up. GET THE BALL TO AN EFFING GUARD! Bennie's injuries have been a factor but a lot of his problems come because he doesn't accept who he is. He's a jump shooter who can occasionally post up a smaller guy. He's not a slasher and never will be because he's not explosive. He's not a finisher. I'm all for trying to improve your stock, but not at the expense of the team. When he stays within himself, he's good, like he was in the last five minutes of the first half. Otherwise...you get what we saw at the end of the game last night.

    3. I think blaming substitutions last night is fair, although I think there are pros and cons with everyone you sub. I'd like to hear suggestions and arguments about who should have been in late instead, since I was too mad to give it much thought. But here's my main problem from last night with coaching: we're three years into Metu's career and he still has no idea how to defend the pick and roll. There are two options.

    A. Give the shooter room to get under the pick. This surrenders the three point shot, so most teams don't do this.

    B. HEDGE THE BALL HANDLER TO THE SIDELINE to force him away from the basket and then rotate your man defense, forcing the other team to move the ball quickly to just get a perimeter shot. Nearly everyone plays it this way.

    Metu, three years into his career and after missing a lay up that would have given us the lead, instead allows the guard to turn the corner and get toward the basket, and Metu plays behind him to try to play for the spectacular blocked shot, and he always gets one floated over. He gave up a five foot bank shot on a pick and roll. It's so frustrating watching him defend. He doesn't have a clue.

    This is the most frustrating team I've ever followed at SC. Talentwise, this team may be the best in the conference, or at worst second. IMO this team is more talented than the Elite Eight team and Miner's team because it's deeper. We aren't undersized down low and we have the best point guard in school history. We have multiple athletes and many guys who can make threes. We have defended pretty well since the UW game. UCLA beat us (and Arizona) by making a lot of threes, and we held ASU to 42% last night.

    This can still be salvaged. If we win Saturday, sweep our home games, and split in the mountains, that will likely be enough. Shoot, that may still win us the conference. In case you guys haven't noticed, Arizona is a little down this year. They were unimpressive at home against the mountain schools, lost last week to UW, and shit the bed last night. A win, and we're tied for first with a win tie breaker against them and a home game against UCLA.

    This season is hardly over. We have the ability to get some good wins away from home, and I expect us to sweep our home games. Ask yourself this question: when was the last time that any USC team went two months without losing a game by double digits, and was 6 points away from being undefeated on the road in conference. Nearly all of our goals are still reachable. We've just gotta stop playing dumb basketball at the end of games.
    Last edited by TVofTroy; 02-09-2018, 07:53 AM.

  • #2
    Your post in right on. Very frustrating team. Cant seem to finish a game. I get that the Refs were calling a tight game, but on both sides. You have to adjust to that. Throwing and or fumbling the ball away shouldn't be the actions of an experienced team. Benny still has so much to learn.

    This season can be salvaged. U of A will be tough. I get they are down but after losing to westwood they will come out firing. Gotta win out. Fight On!


    • #3
      TV - how much is the coaching staff to blame versus the players for these latest debacles?

      I have also never been so frustrated and angry as a USC basketball fan. I seriously hope this season isnt lost, as you believe.


      • #4
        Depends on what you're talking about. The fouls I blame on the players. Bennie's turnovers are mostly on him but part on the coaches. Pick and roll D is mostly on the coaches.


        • #5
          Great breakdown of why the Trojans are their own worst enemy. It's painful to watch, for sure. I imagine Enfield would have loved to have Mathews in at the end of the game instead of Stewart or Aaron who were a combined 2-12 FG and 1-6 from 3, but Mathews wasn't able to adjust to the way they were calling the game and got himself fouled out with 4 and half left to play. Especially when Evans got hot, Mathews is the best man defender Enfield has (with Melton out). The effort is there and you appreciate that, but when it's channeled into cheap fouls, and out of control low percentage shots it does more harm than good. The fact is, a lot of players on the team are inconsistent and you just don't know who's got their head in the game and can hit open looks. When a player is barely hitting iron, that's usually a good indicator though.

          USC needed ASU to shoot poorly to have a shot and ASU delivered, but you're not going to beat many Pac 12 teams with 18 turnovers and sending them to the line 32 times. Yeah the game was called tightly, but USC failed to adjust. When you're not getting transition buckets, 32% from 3 isn't good enough.

          Sadly, Enfield needs to figure out who's showing up on a given night and give that kid more minutes. The T Usher earned was dumb, but his play warranted more than 8 minutes. Kid was making plays and when another player is off his game, deserves a chance to fill in and pick up the slack.

          The usually dependable J-Mac was off his game and deserves criticism. 4 TOs is unlike J-Mac and maybe his teammates weren't ready for the passes, but he can deliver them better. Probably the most damning thing J-Mac did was piss away an excellent 2 for 1 opportunity at the end of the game. I don't know if that's coaching or J-Mac, but as he's done so many times before he needs to dribble hard to the cup and get fouled or throw up a prayer hoping Metu can get a board and putback. That would have left enough time on the clock for USC to get the ball back after ASU's possession points or no points.

          Players that have been with the team 3+ years are not executing well enough. Enfield deserves criticism for not pulling guys who just don't have it that night.

          It was a disappointing loss for sure, but on to the next one.

          Speaking of Saturday, has Arizona ever lost two games in a row at McHale? I really don't see it happening, but I hope they prove me wrong.

          After UofA, USC pretty much needs to win out until the Pac 12 tourney and hope they make the semis.

          Fight On, beat the Wildcats!


          • #6
            The PAC12 is up for grabs this year. AZ 9-3, UCLA 8-4, USC 8-4, Washington 7-4,
            and Stanford 7-5 right now.
            Having to play the best team AZ at home is not good for USC. UCLA is the hottest team.
            USC had its chances but seemed to like to give up big leads and can't win close games.
            But who knows what can happen in a wild finish.


            • #7
              I think ASU beats UCLA....