USC became a fun team to watch during the NCAA Tournament. And its athleticism was again apparent even against Baylor. But the Trojans’ undoing was the final four minutes or so. As happened the past four years, Andy Enfield teams cannot play patiently.
USC is down 76-70 and Bennie Boatwright shoots a 3 from about 30 feet. The Trojans get the rebound and Jordan McLaughlin immediately shoots another 3. Enfield coaches his teams to play one speed. All the time. That hurts USC at the end of games when the clock needs to run down or you need to look for a good, high-percentage shot. That’s why USC lost today. It doesn’t take away from the first two victories but it shows why close games can be frustrating under Enfield. But overall it was a fun three-game ride.
USC plays Baylor at 4:45 p.m. (PT) and I will have another live chat for the game. Meanwhile, Washington hired long-time Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins to replace Lorenzo Romar.
Hopkins was a finalist for the USC job when Andy Enfield was hired. I’ve heard he was not pleased because during interviews with Pat Haden, he prestented a plan to hire former Syracuse players and Southern California natives Tony Bland and Jason Hart as assistant coaches.
So after Haden hired Enfield, who had no Southern California ties, he told him to hire Bland and Hart. And the pair are still USC assistant coaches. Will one of them now go to Washington? Or perhaps Jim Boeheim will try to hire one at Syracuse?
UPDATED: There is already speculation in Seattle that Hart will join Hopkins.
There are a lot of NCAA brackets produced this week that use non-athletic factors to crown a champion. My favorite is this one from ProPublica, which measures a school’s ability to graduate low-income students with little debt. USC defeated Providence but then lost New Mexico State in the first round. Surely, it would have beaten SMU in this too? Click here to enlarge the bracket.
West Virginia became the first school to have a 10-win football season and Sweet 16 basketball season today. USC has a chance to do that tomorrow. Florida State, Michigan and Wisconsin also have a chance.
Now ask yourself this: What is the average attendance at each school?
USC-Baylor gets a later start Sunday, around 4:45 p.m. (PT). And for the third straight game, the Trojans will play on truTV. At this point, why not to keep the luck going. Baylor is a 6.5-point favorite.
Charles Barkley is tired of LaVar Ball, so he’s wearing the jersey of UCLA’s opponents during the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m going to wear a jersey till they lose,” Barkley said. “He’s going to be following the camera around. So I need them to lose so we quit showing him.
“I have some animosity toward the UCLA program at this particular moment. Right now, I’ve got bitter anger animosity toward certain people affiliated – not the players. Love Steve Alford.”
Earlier this week, Barkley challenged Ball to a one-on-one matchup. “Once I found out he averaged two points a game in college, listen, you need to slow your roll. I need to go back and Google this guy, because maybe I missed the Ball era, when he was dominating and winning championships everywhere else.”