USC will need to get turnovers under control if it wants to make the NCAA Tournament

USC will need to get turnovers under control if it wants to make the NCAA Tournament

The USC Trojans keep winning. The Men of Troy have won seven straight games to turn a dreary 4-3 start into an 11-3 record with no blemishes in the Pac-12 through three games. The outlook for the season has brightened considerably. The Trojans are getting closer to where they want to be. Their season isn’t quite “on schedule,” but if they can win at Washington State on Sunday and sweep a two-game road trip, they will have done a lot to negate the effects of their bad loss to Florida Gulf Coast. They will not be “underwater” in terms of their resume. They won’t be in great position for an NCAA Tournament berth, but they also won’t be behind the eight-ball.

If they are going to win at Washington State, and if they are going to follow the right path to an NCAA berth, they simply have to cut down on turnovers.

This is not an original observation by any means; Andy Enfield USC teams have struggled to protect the ball in recent years. The Trojans typically overcome turnovers with their late-game defense, just as they did against Washington in Seattle on Friday night. USC held Washington without a made field goal for nearly nine minutes. That overcame 16 USC turnovers … but the USC turnovers are why the Trojans fell behind 58-55 midway through the second half and faced a much tougher night than they needed to. If the defense doesn’t stand on its head, 16 turnovers in a game will matter. 22 turnovers in a game — which USC coughed up against Colorado State on December 21 — will matter.

We have come to expect lots of turnovers in Enfield-era USC games, at least as long as the Trojans have lacked an elite point guard. Jordan McLaughlin was a rock of dependability at point guard, and the Trojans haven’t had a floor general with his level of command since his time. This is what Isaiah Collier will bring to the party next season, and it’s why USC is in position to have a great season one year from now. In the meantime, this team still doesn’t have a true classic point guard, which is why turnovers are still likely to be a problem.

If USC can address this one problem, the Trojans’ March odds will increase. It’s really important to go to Pullman and deliver a clean display with a lot more added possessions against the Cougars.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire