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USC Ranked in the AP Top 25

This among other things comes as great news today! As noted in the diaries by uscfootballfandotcom and USCholar USC breaks into the top 25 this week at #25.

This is a great boost for the team's confidence and it is sure to continue to attract more attention to the program. After a disappointing loss to UCLA last week SC bounced back with wins over both Arizona and Arizona St. and that has helped them break into the top 25.

USC was ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press men's college basketball poll released today, marking the first time the Trojans have been nationally ranked since March 2002.

USC was not ranked in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, but was the top team among "others receiving votes" with 48 points, four fewer than No. 25 Kentucky.

Trojans Coach Tim Floyd participates in the coaches' poll but would not divulge whether he voted for his team.

The Trojans (15-5 overall, 5-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference) have defeated four ranked teams and won 10 of their last 13 games. They are tied with No. 20 Washington State for third place in the Pac-10 standings.

USC is also off to its best start since going 16-4 to open the 2001-02 season -- one that ended in the NCAA tournament.

This is a great first step as these guys continue to play their hearts out. But we can't get complacent now that we are getting some recognition. We need to keep focused on the task at hand, winning games. Resting on our laurels will only spell disaster so they need to keep plugging away.

Young Named Pac 10 player of the week

As also noted in the diaries, Nick Young was named Pac 10 player of the week.

Junior swingman Nick Young was selected Pac-10 player of the week after averaging 24 points and 5.5 rebounds in the Trojans' victories over Arizona and Arizona State. It was the first time USC swept the Arizona schools at home in five years.

Congratulations Nick!!

USC Hoops on ESPN...Next Year

In a move that will make some very happy and others completely bewildered ESPN wants to see USC host a basketball tournament next year.

From Wolf's blog:

With heralded recruit O.J. Mayo on his way, ESPN wants USC to headline an eight-team, three-game tournament in Anaheim next season. The Trojans would play the prime-time game each night.

I am going to say this now, on the record. The tournament needs to be held in the Galen Center not Anaheim. More important though, no tournament should be held without UCLA. That's the game we all want and you know that the 4-letter network would drool for this match-up. Man, there are a million metaphors one could come up with. Heck, even I would fly out for that game.

Pruitt Making Amends

Love them or hate them but ESPN knows how to push a feel good story and USC's improvement in basketball has caught their eyes as is noted here in an article by Andy Katz.

Gabe Pruitt felt somewhat responsible -- and, at the very least, felt accountable -- for putting USC in a precarious position entering this season.

Academic troubles made him ineligible for the fall semester, news that came amid the aftermath of the tragic shooting death of starting point guard Ryan Francis last spring. Once the basketball season arrived, though, much of the burden of USC starting the season without its other starting guard landed back on Pruitt.

...Pruitt's commitment -- to getting eligible, to becoming an all-around player and becoming a leader -- plays a big part in the Trojans' recent upswing, one that includes wins over Oregon and Arizona. His return, along with the early arrival of point guard Daniel Hackett and the emergence of possible Pac-10 freshman of the year Taj Gibson in the post, surprisingly has made USC a viable Pac-10 contender.

It's a development that still is somewhat amazing for second-year coach Tim Floyd to grasp fully.

No doubt most of us are pleasantly surprised at how things are going in hoops but we need to keep it up and getting Pruitt back is a big start. All this attention is great but we can't lose site on the big prize of going deep into the tournament, not just getting to the tournament.

Lots of great news today on the basketball front!