Lets face it, Affalo's a stud. He hung in there and made the shot that needed to be made at the time it was needed. That's what winner's do, he's a gamer no doubt about it. But enough about them lets talk about us.
For the first time in a long time USC fans can feel good about our basketball team. We're not final-4 material yet and we aren't about to steal the national stage in college hoops but we finally have something to feel good about. A number of MSM pundits actually picked SC to beat the Bruins yesterday. I can see why; SC gets their first sellout at the Galen Center...against UCLA, one of UCLA's top players is out with an injury and SC actually has pretty good team that is coming together, the stars were all lined up for us. OK, that's fine but I can see now that pick was made as a conversation starter and if we made our free-throws and if we didn't have a number of traveling fouls called against us...IF IF IF, BLAH BLAH BLAH. You know what they say about "IF" right? Well, if my Aunt had...You get my drift.
Tim Floyd has done a good job in bringing this team together with some of the issues that have hit this team in the past year; the death of Ryan Francis, Pruitt's academic struggles etc. That's fine, he stared down adversity and is making it work but now it's time to take the next step. I am pleased with how things are going and Floyd seems to have what it takes to make it happen but the stakes couldn't be higher and the time make it happen is now. I think he can do it, as he is putting a pretty good team together and the future looks bright.
I wouldn't call yesterday's loss a moral victory. That's not something that should be in the vocabulary at SC. I real disappointed with this loss as a win was within our grasp and I do think Floyd and Co. should have put this one away but that we made the showing we did to me is an acceptable start. That's not to say this is a free pass, no way, but I will also not malign this coach as we are at a delicate stage and he should be given the time he needs to put the rest of it together. We will get there, no question!
Believe me they know that across town and they have taken notice .
But the stakes have gotten higher. The task is getting tougher.
USC finally has a serious coach in Tim Floyd, who took New Orleans and Iowa State to the NCAA Tournament, and coached both the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets.
Floyd is making inroads into recruiting blue-chippers. The sort of players USC used to go decades without landing.
In two years at Troy, Floyd has added 6-9 center Taj Gibson and a pair of athletic, 6-5 guards, Dwight Lewis and Daniel Hackett. Three of his top six players, that is.
The Trojans already look like better athletes than the Bruins. And that's before uber-recruit O.J. Mayo joins the USC show next season.
UCLA can hear the footsteps. The challenge to its SoCal hoops hegemony is overt.
That's right boys and girls, while their fans may mock and disparage our basketball program the Bruins know that this is for real and while we have not produced the results we want or expect the other team knows that only a few more pieces need to fall in to place. Yes, we didn't win yesterday and that is very disappointing but we can go only one way, up. That's how you build it, one piece at a time. We're not delusional, it won't happen overnight we just need to be patient. We are getting near unchartered territory and there will be some bumps along the way but I like our chances.
"It feels real good," UCLA point guard Darren Collison said with a grin. "We didn't know they were going to do all that stuff.
"We felt like underdogs. To beat them on a day like this, a big day for them ... it feels real good."
Call it what you want but the guys who actually coach and play the games are taking notice.