This is your chance, USC basketball. It's there for you. Football is on Spring Break and the whole of Trojan world is watching. Or will be if you win the next three games. Let's see what you can do.
We're Just Sayin'.
*** And as much as we're not in the habit of saying such things, we think the NCAA pretty much got it right putting the Trojans in the play-in game Wednesday (6:10, tru TV) in Dayton . . . Just Sayin'.
*** After the Arizona State implosion and losses to six of its eight ranked opponents -- although all six were Top 10 against in-league Arizona, Oregon and UCLA -- that the Trojans played, they should have to play their way in . . . Just Sayin'.
*** This is not necessarily a bad thing. Get a tourney game under your belt, beat a Providence team you should have beaten a year ago when the Friars were better, get a rematch with an SMU team USC has already beaten in Tulsa Friday and then it's probably a beatable Baylor team for a trip to New York and the Sweet 16 in what's not really crazy talk . . . Just Sayin'.
*** None of that is impossible for a team of USC's talent and athleticism. Although maybe it's asking too much for a team of USC's too-often psychological fragility and lack of physical toughness , . . Just Sayin'.
*** It's Year 4 for Andy Enfield & Co., time for his Trojans to show what it means to play the way Andy wants them to play . . . Just Sayin'.
*** For good or bad, we know what a Mike Krzyzewski team looks like. Or a Roy Williams, Bill Self, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Mike Brey, Sean Miller, Mark Few or Jay Wright team is supposed to look and play like. We also know what a Kevin O'Neill team looked like. Now you'd like to see Andy's guys say this is who we are, how we play the game, how we believe in what we're doing more than you do and how we win when we do that. Not there yet. Not sure where there is. Might be a good time to start finding out in Dayton . . .Just Sayin'.
*** Because this is about building. Losing to Providence two years in a row would not be "building." . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Not sure Andy has anything to worry about no matter what. AD Lynn Swann was saying to a USC booster group in Vegas last week, we're told, that he will be asking Andy to screen some of the women's basketball coaching candidates . . . Just Sayin'.
*** So let me see if we've got this right. How badly did Reggie Bush and his stepdad screw up? In a USA TODAY story, UCLA freshman star Lonzo Ball and his younger brother LiAngelo -- the two of the three Ball Brothers old enough to drive -- are driving $100,000 BMW's given to them by their dad. Reggie and his nine-year-old Impala were banned from a college connection with USC for life -- and he didn't even have an agent. But Reggie did have a Heisman Trophy and a national championship or two. Maybe he and his dad should have been selling Reggie Bush t-shirts out of the back of the Impala and it would have been OK with the NCAA although probably not. The NCAA makes all its money off the TV deal for its basketball tournament. Don't want to screw that up and no one in the SEC cares about Lonzo Ball . . . Just Sayin'.
*** But for USC warning UCLA that having Lonzo's photo on the family's bigballerbrand website, where they sell $60 t-shirts and $70 hats with the BBB logo -- one "B" for each son -- now USC apparently is the bad guy according to Papa Lavar Ball as reported in that USA TODAY story: After threatening UCLA when told he'd have to pull Lonzo's photo as a potential violation of NCAA rules, Lavar said he said". . .see if you can win the (NCAA) tournament without my son. I'm coming down to get my son . . . and that's when they was like, 'Lavar, it's not us, it's USC.' " If only it was USC although SID Tim Tessalone did the classy thing in warning UCLA that it could be a problem. Weasels everywhere you look except for USC here . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Although we do recall the NCAA declaring Matt Leinart ineligible immediately -- he got it back after a day -- for making an innocuous, unpaid radio promo for ESPN . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Speaking of weasels, here's the NCAA statement on the Lonzo Ball situation. See if sounds anything like the way Paul Dee & Co. talked about USC and Reggie: “Like many schools, UCLA has frequently worked with the NCAA to determine what is and is not allowed within the member-adopted rules. While neither the NCAA nor UCLA will address details of a specific student-athlete's situation, both are comfortable the appropriate measures have been taken to review the potential issues under NCAA rules and processes regarding Lonzo Ball. As is standard practice, both will continue to work together to monitor this matter.’’ . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And while they're at it, Lavar Ball will keep selling shirts and caps with his BBB logo on them and laughing all the way to the bank as he works on that "billion-dollar shoe deal" for Lonzo before he gets to the NBA . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Remember how the NCAA came down hard on USC and Dwayne Jarrett for the amount of rent he was paying as Matt's roommate and now that USA TODAY story quotes Lavar saying he's paying a family friend to live in Westwood and be a minder for Lonzo, going to every practice and away game with him . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Remember when NCAA Pres. Mark Emmert said the threat to amateurism from the likes of Reggie Bush was the biggest problem facing the NCAA. Well, never mind. That was then. Lavar Ball isn't the only one making money off Lonzo, CBS and the NCAA are as well . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Not all basketball around here this week. Did we just see that the No. 4 USC women's lacrosse team is headed cross-country for games -- matches, whatever -- at Dartmouth in the wilds of central New Hampshire and then back to Boston where the snow should top out shy of 24 inches by Sunday's game -- that is, if they can get out of Hanover. Hope they have a tarp . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And finally, for some football. Best news we heard coming out of last Saturday's first practice in pads with all the recruits and a big, enthusiastic crowd of visitors watching actually came after practice and after all the meet and greet stuff as the players were getting ready to head off on Spring Break. As it's told to us, a group of younger players decided they would do a three-hour study hall later in the day Saturday. Now that's impressive and maybe an insight into where this team's head is . . . Just Sayin'.