USC Playing & Losing a Tough Schedule

The band of castoffs was to be playing with a chip on their shoulder. From transfers to the healed, Kevin O’Neill’s squad came into this season as the great unknown. As such, they became the hipster pick – cool because is wasn’t cool – to make some noise in the conference. I picked them to finish as high as fourth!

Well the season’s now begun and the Trojans already have as many losses as their football team (too soon?). They sit at 3-5 and haven’t looked quite like a top team in the Pac. Jio’s still finding his sea legs, JT Terrell is shooting and not making, Aaron Fuller’s role is diminished, and defensively the team isn’t quite there yet. But the primary concern is their record.

These guys have played a hellacious schedule begging the question: Why?

I get it. That’s why we play. I love competition and why compete if you’re just lining them up to knock them down? What does Usain Bolt learn about himself by racing grandma even with a cheetah taped to her back? We challenge ourselves to learn and grow. To that effect I applaud the Trojans’ effort.

But at what point does it become masochism? Why play the country’s toughest schedule to bury your season before it begins? SOS is only a factor of RPI and RPI is only a factor of the selection committee’s. The group that ultimately holds the fate of 37 teams.

Because that’s what college hoops becomes: A beauty pageant to ensure you’re invited to The Dance. Playing and winning a tough schedule is like nailing the talent portion of the pageant. Playing and getting annihilated through a tough schedule? This:

Unfortunately, KO’s group is heading down the path of the latter.

But the course will toughen them and come Pac-12 time, there will be little that surprises this team. I’m just curious if they won’t already be broken.

2 thoughts on “USC Playing & Losing a Tough Schedule

  1. Why does it seem like no matter who O’Neill trots out there, it always looks the same. Tough, physical guys who play their butts off on defense and can pound the boards, but seemingly have no team agenda whatsoever on the offensive end. It is ugly to watch, and will keep them from winning too much, but it will be a pain in the neck to some Pac-12 teams (e.g. Cal)

    1. There’s something to love about KO teams. They’re always to be respected but not necessarily feared but you know – on at least one half of the floor – you’re going to get fire. I appreciate that he gets the most out of his players, too. At least the ones willing to buy in. If they don’t buy in, no matter how good, they won’t play.

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