The USC men’s basketball team had hoped to play mid-January games against opponents such as the Arizona Wildcats with the whole nation watching. Arizona and USC were, after all, picked as the top two teams in the Pac-12 before the season began. When the schedule came out for the season, this game in Tucson stood out as a featured attraction and a possible battle for first place in the conference. Instead, it became something very different.
In a game which drew practically no national attention because of how off the radar screen USC is, the Trojans meekly fell to Arizona, 82-67, on Wednesday night. USC is now 2-5 in the Pac-12 and 8-10 overall. The Trojans’ only chance of making the NCAA Tournament will be to win four games in four days at the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas in March.
USC lost this game in three places: at the foul line, on the glass, and in the backcourt. USC was minus-17 in free throw attempts (26-9) while allowing 21 offensive rebounds and committing 19 turnovers. No team is going to win when being that bad in that many key areas.