With Vucevic's future in limbo, next season could be challenging for coach O'Neill.
USC coach Kevin O'Neill quietly left Dayton Arena on Wednesday night with the disappointment of one of the worst performances of the season tempered by the fact the Trojans made the NCAA Tournament.
"If you look historically what's happened to teams that have gone through what we've gone through (with probation), it's been long rebuilds and tough seasons and losing records and all that," O'Neill said.
Winning 19 games this season certainly brushed aside the effects of probation, but the real challenge for O'Neill begins today, because there are no guarantees next year will be better than this season.
If junior forward Nikola Vucevic turns pro early, the Trojans lose four starters from the Virginia Commonwealth game (Vucevic, forward Alex Stepheson, guard Marcus Simmons and guard Donte Smith).
A cynic might argue that O'Neill is finally going to live off his own players instead of Tim Floyd holdovers. That's why priority No. 1 might be figuring a way to keep Vucevic around.
"We shouldn't be where we're at," O'Neill said. "We're actually ahead of schedule."
But does O'Neill have the talent to sustain USC's success? And will things change now that he seems to be in a more-precarious situation from a job-security standpoint, even though athletic director Pat Haden said he's "150 percent" behind O'Neill? -Daily News 3/17/11
With the abundance of spirited debate on the state of USC hoops and Coach KO, perhaps a poll will give us further insight into the mindset of Trojan Nation.