USC Basketball: Trojans lose 9th in a row, face UCLA in opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament

Mar 3, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans guard Byron Wesley (25) is defended by Washington State Cougars players Reggie Moore (1), Mike Ladd 2) and Marcus Capers (0) at the Galen Center. Washington State defeated USC 43-38. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

USC rallied to get close in the second half but that rally fell short.

"I'm happy that's how we get to start off," USC forward Garrett Jackson said Saturday after the Trojans' 43-38 loss to Washington State, "because we want to get a win against them this year."

The Trojans, of course, would take a win over any team after enduring a regular season that ended with only six victories, a school-record 25 losses and a 1-17 finish in conference play.

USC's poor shooting and Washington State forward Brock Motum were largely responsible for Saturday's outcome at the Galen Center that extended USC's losing streak to nine games.

How many times have we read this year that USC started off in a bad way only to mount furious comebacks that fell short this season?

I am not going to try and decipher it.

Looking past next weeks Pac-12 tournament for a moment, it should be interesting to see how Kevin O'Neill closes his recruiting class and and how he prepares the team for next season...I am going to assume that O'Neill will keep his job for at least one more season.

As for next week, USC faces UCLA in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament...

USC lost to UCLA at the Galen Center in January.

The Trojans fell short against the Bruins at the Sports Arena last month.

On Wednesday, the venue changes to Staples Center, where 12th-seeded USC will meet fifth-seeded UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

[...]

USC lost to the Bruins at home, 66-47. They lost a few blocks south on Figueroa Street at the Sports Arena, 64-54.

Now they'll head north on Figueroa to face a UCLA team that has played with resilience since the publication of a Sports Illustrated story that spotlighted problems within Coach Ben Howland's program the last few seasons.

I saw most of the second half between UCLA and UW yesterday. UW had many great opportunities to put UCLA away but turnovers cost UW dearly.

It is clear that last weeks article in SI.com lit a fire under their butts, But even if they beat USC, I don't see UCLA going very far into the tournament.

Of course, for pure Schadenfreude purposes, the deeper UCLA goes in the tournament, the nuttier things will get across town...and that makes for some hilarious reading.

Here's the full 2012 Pac-12 tournament bracket.

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