USC 2007 NCAA Tournament Capsule
USC Trojans - Pac-10 (23-11, 11-7)
Seed: #5 - East Region
Big Wins: 1/18 Arizona (80-73), 2/3 Oregon (71-68), 2/15 at Arizona (80-75)
Bad Losses: 11/16 South Carolina (74-80), 2/18 at Arizona State (58-68), 3/1 at Washington (70-85)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2002, First Round loss to UNC-Wilmington
Coach: Tim Floyd (4-5 in 5 NCAA appearances)
Probable USC Starters:
Gabe Pruitt, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1.7 spg
Lodrick Stewart, Senior, Guard, 14.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Nick Young, Junior, Guard, 17.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
RouSean Cromwell, Sophomore, Forward, 2.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Taj Gibson, Freshman, Forward, 11.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Key Roleplayers for USC:
Dwight Lewis, Freshman, Guard, 5.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Daniel Hackett, Freshman, Guard, 4.8 ppg, 2.7 apg
Keith Wilkinson, Sophomore, Forward, 1.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Abdoulaye N’Diaye, Senior, Center, 3.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
If defense really does win championships, watch out for the Trojans. The opposition only shoots 39.1% against USC. Much of the defensive help comes from the emergence of 6-9, 210 pound freshman Taj Gibson. Not only does Gibson provide a presence under the basket and average 1.8 blocks per game, but he adds 11.8 points and 8.4 rebounds and creates a much, much needed offensive threat in the paint.
The true strength of the Trojans is on the wings. Nick Young is a great slasher, Lodrick Stewart can knock down three’s all day and Daniel Hackett is a smart, high energy team player who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Why USC Can Disappoint:
The Trojans score 71.4 points per game, yet only average 12.8 assists. The team play, or lack thereof, has been a problem. Three freshmen average over 20 minutes per game and that youth has translated into the occasional bout of poor team play. By this time of year, freshmen are pretty much sophomores, but when USC gets down late in an NCAA Tournament game, will they find their teammates or try and force a bad shot on their own?
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Who To Watch:
Point guard Gabe Pruitt missed the first semester, but by the time the Pac-10 hit conference play, Pruitt was back in the starting lineup for good. The junior is not scoring as much as he did as an underclassman, but USC and Coach Tim Floyd do not need him to. Pruitt can concentrate on running the show and dishing out to the bigger scoring threats on the wings and under the basket. It will be Pruitt’s job to be the coach on the floor and keep the young team looking like an experienced team.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (122nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.0 (83, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.7 (34, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.1 (13, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (121, 6)
Rebound Margin: -0.4 (201, 7)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (216, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (175, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to Georgetown
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