USC announced Monday that it has fired men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill, whose team was 7-10 this season. Assistant coach Bob Cantu will be the interim head coach until a permanent replacement for O'Neill is named.
O'Neill was in his fourth year at USC and had a 48-65 overall record. The Trojans finished 6-26 last season, including 1-17 in the Pac-12, but the team was hit with a rash of injuries that took away a lot of their top players. This season, however, the return of injured players and the addition of some touted transfers was expected to give USC, which is 2-2 in conference play this season, a much improved team.
"It was hard for me to evaluate him as a head coach until this year when he had enough players and veterans to compete," USC athletic director Pat Haden said. "As the season progressed, it became evident to me that we needed new leadership in our men's basketball program. Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team."
---Louisville (15-1) ascended to No. 1 in the Associated Press rankings on Monday for only the second time in school history. The first came at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Louisville was one of five teams to receive first-place votes. The Cardinals, who have won 10 in a row since losing to previously No. 1 Duke, totaled 65 points in the balloting.
Preseason No. 1 Indiana moved from fifth to second and Duke dropped to third after its loss to North Carolina State on Saturday.
Kansas and Michigan, which suffered its first loss Sunday at Ohio State, rounded out the top five, followed by Syracuse, Arizona, Gonzaga, Minnesota and Florida.
---Wyoming suspended second leading scorer Luke Martinez indefinitely after a bar fight in December that resulted in a broken finger. Martinez, a senior guard, was arrested Sunday on a charge of aggravated assault, according to Laramie, Wyo., police.
Coach Larry Shyatt announced last week that Martinez was out after breaking a hand in an off-campus incident, but the Casper Star-Tribune cited a police report that indicated Martinez was present after an early morning altercation on Dec. 30 in Laramie, Wyo.
Martinez was averaging 14.5 points per game for the Cowboys, a team that was undefeated until last week.