6. USC Trojans (5-3) Last Week: T-9
Though few would expect USC to beat Nevada, the Trojans’ effort at home against a top-10 opponent was admirable.
Forward Nick Rakocevic finished with a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double and had some entertaining battles against Wolf Pack forward Jordan Carolina on the glass and in the paint.
Nonetheless, the loss drops USC to 5-3 and serves as yet another missed opportunity for the Pac-12 to make a statement in nonconference play.
Through eight games, the Trojans’ success has weighed heavily on the efficiency at which they shoot the ball. They’ve won four of five games in which they’ve shot 50 percent or better and dropped the three contests in which they’ve failed to do so.
But the stat that is most eye-popping from last Saturday is the meager attendance number. While USC isn’t known for drawing the crowds of Arizona or cross-town rival UCLA, just 5,844 fans occupied the Galen Center. More recently, the importance of home-court advantage has heightened in college basketball and the Trojans essentially lacked a key advantage against Nevada.
Fortunately for coach Andy Enfield, his team still has a couple of opportunities to pick up a signature win prior to the start of the Pac-12 schedule.
The first of which comes against TCU on Friday in the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. A pseudo home game for USC, the showcase will be played at the Staples Center.
For the Trojans, the matchup is a chance to beat a team that reached the NCAA Tournament Second Round a year ago.