Some teams have that knack for bouncing back. Just when they looked like they were spiraling, they get help from an unexpected source, they get that big, dominant win against a ranked opponent and it turns around their season.
This year, that scenario doesn't describe UCLA, but could describe USC.
The Trojans were on a three game losing streak over the last couple of weeks, which turned their record into a losing one. But Sunday they got that UCLA-like win, this one against 22nd ranked
But it's not as if that was USC's only big win of the year. A few weeks earlier, they had also beaten
It's amazing. Every time you think the potential ignominious records UCLA could set this season have been exhausted, there's a new one right around the corner.
USC did the UCLA-like turn-around-game thing when they found a contributor in football player/walk-on Greg Guenther against
With Guenther able to bring a big body to the paint, it also helped 6-11 sophomore center Rory O'Neil to find his game. He had 12 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks and probably his best all-around game of the season. O'Neil, who is a very good shooting big man but a somewhat soft post, looked quite a bit calmer and confident against
With USC's interior anchored and contributing huge against
Small forward Desmon Farmer leads the team in scoring, averaging over 16 points a game, and he was probably the most consistent and steady through USC's three-game losing streak. He's a very good three-point shooter, setting up anywhere beyond the arc. With a newfound inside-outside formula for USC, watch for Farmer to be looking for open looks from kickouts, especially with that penetrating demon, Craven, finding seams in opposing defenses.
Perhaps USC's Achilles Heel is the point guard position, where they've been trying to find someone to nail it down all season. Derrick Craven has mostly been starting at the point recently, and he's struggled. Derrick is still trying to adopt a point guard's mentality, more naturally a shooting guard like his twin brother, and his inconsistent play, and the mediocre play from the position, has really hurt USC this season. USC is a bit of a wild team to begin with, with a lot of raw athletes who are limited a bit in their basketball IQs, and without leadership from the point guard position, it's made the Trojans a pretty erratic team. Errick Craven started against
Another solid, calming influence is 6-8 sophomore power forward Nick Curtis. He got limited minutes against USC due to an injury, which actually gave Guenther his chance. Curtis, though, is having a solid year, averaging 9 points and 7 rebounds a game, and has easily been USC's best rebounder.
USC limited their bench against