College Hoops

USC does need to get better, but it used to be so much worse

Drew Peterson upgraded to questionable for Arizona State

Has USC done everything it possibly can as a basketball program? No. Should USC fans think that merely making the NCAA Tournament every season, without regularly winning March Madness games, is enough for the program as an annual benchmark? No. Has USC tapped into all its resources and maxed out on a larger, long-term level? No.

Reasonable people can certainly say that in Los Angeles, for a program heading to the Big Ten Conference in two years, USC can and should do more than make the NCAA Tournament and lose in the first round. However, we can say that USC did max out in this specific season.

Getting to the NCAA Tournament with Vince Iwuchukwu being unable to play for most of the season, with Isaiah Mobley gone and Tre White learning on the fly as a freshman starter logging big minutes, and with practically no bench other than Reese Dixon-Waters, is overachieving. Critics might not want to hear that, but they need to.

Andy Enfield still has his flaws, but does anyone remember how bleak things were when he took over in 2013? USC was on the downslope from the Tim Floyd years and their stormy, controversial end. Floyd brought success on the court but did not play it straight with the NCAA. Enfield has created success with far fewer headaches.

How successful has Enfield been? One fact offers part of the story: USC has won 43 Pac-12 games the past three seasons, the msot in school history. Yes, the Pac-12 moving to a 20-game conference schedule has inflated that total to a degree, but even if the league schedule was still just 18 games instead of 20, USC would have had 39 or 40 wins based on its rate of victory the past three years. That would still put these Trojans at the top of the list in program history for conference wins.

No, everything isnโ€™t perfect or complete at USC, but everything is generally good. Thatโ€™s not bad. Perspective is needed after an NCAA Tournament exit.

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