T-9: USC Trojans
While the Pac-12 has been below average as a whole in non-conference play, individually, USC could end up being one of the more polished teams late in the season.
The Trojans salvaged a third-place finish at the NABC Hall of Fame Classic with a 19-point win over Missouri State. In its return to Los Angeles, USC handled CSU Bakersfield 90-75 behind five players in double figures, led by a combined 43 points from junior Jonah Mathews and senior Bennie Boatwright.
Going forward, the key for USC is finding a medium between exciting and consistent.
The Trojans play fast and have a bevy of highly-capable scorers, averaging 84.7 points per game. In addition to Boatwright and Mathews, coach Andy Enfield has freshman guard Kevin Porter and senior forward Nick Rakocevic as strong secondary options.
In each of their four wins, the Trojans shot no worse than 52 percent. By comparison at least four players have finished with double-digit scoring efforts in such contests.
But in losses to Vanderbilt and Texas Tech, USC has made less than half of its shots, converting on 39 and 44 percent respectively.
However, with Enfield at the helm, it seems more a matter of when, not if, the Trojans put everything together and become a contender in the conference.
The upcoming week is a good test in finding balance, beginning with Long Beach State before a three-game stretch against Nevada, TCU and Oklahoma.