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What's it going to take??

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I'm not a bracketologist so god only knows what it takes for a team to get into the tournament but it is clear to me that if we continue to play the way we did towards the end of last nights game we won't make the tournament.

With ucla's lackluster offense and more free-throw shooting there was no excuse for us not to win this game. We threw up way too many bricks last night instead of trying to work the ball in side or for better high percentage shots. As I said last night I don't want to hear about the youth on this team after a while you're either battle tested or you're not. This team knows how to win, they beat ucla a month ago and while it is clear that we missed Daniel Hackett someone else needs to step up and pick up the slack.

Its tough for five starters to play the whole game and ucla's depth on the bench kept some fresh legs on the court but they didn't look like world beaters with their shoddy offense. Regardless, SC had a lot of chances towards the end and they even looked like they getting their second wind but they just couldn't keep control of the ball let alone put it in the basket.

So lets talk about Mayo. There is no question that he has a ton of talent and it is apparent to many of us that he is fairly mature player especially on defense, but the erratic shooting and his mishandling of the ball continues to hurt us so to me it's a wash. A lot has been made of his 20-plus games where he has had double-digit scoring and while that has been impressive he has a lot of turnovers that have put us in some tough spots. I give the kid credit for not using his groin injury as an excuse but he was absolutely manhandled by Westbrook last night.

"I don't think my groin had anything to do with my decisions with the ball," said Mayo, who missed six shots and scored his only points on a dunk with 1 minute 43 seconds left in the first half and a jumper with 10:58 left in the second half.

He took responsibility for what was a team loss, a wasted chance for the Trojans (15-9, 6-6 in the Pacific 10 Conference) to sweep the season series from the Bruins (22-3, 10-2) and gather momentum for the last few regular-season games and the Pac-10 tournament.

He may or may not be ready for the NBA, but he was prepared to stand up and acknowledge his missteps Sunday.

That should be recognized in measuring the man separately from the player.

"I didn't step up and play well and didn't take care of the ball. I turned the ball over too many times," he said.

"We had many opportunities, we just turned the ball over too much and I didn't step up when my teammates needed me."

Not that they blamed him.

The problem is that Mayo has done this in the past in committing a lot of turnovers but he has been able to offset it with scoring points, last night he didn't do that. He also looked liked he lacked some hustle out there when getting back in transition. I wouldn't agree that he is overrated but I would agree that his style of play is more streetball and that will only get you so far.

SC's defense was pretty good for the most part thought there were a few times they got caught out of position when ucla went through their rotation and they did have a stretch or two where they were able to keep ucla at bay with blocked shots and steals of their own. But what makes this such a bitter pill to swallow was that USC shot 46% to ucla's 34%. The bruins got a lot of second chance points but that is to be expected with 19 offensive rebounds.

They were clearly out of gas, except during that one stretch in the end where they looked like they got their second wind. It will be tough to get to the tournament let alone advance if we only play 6 guys the whole game.

If USC's going to make a it to the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans might be out of gas if they get there.

They played without guard Daniel Hackett, who is sidelined indefinitely with a stress fracture in his back.

Hackett said it was evident that having four players play 40 minutes took its toll.

"Defensively, they played great, but the guys were tired out there," Hackett said. "It's tough when they have six guys like that and there's so much pressure from the other team."

Still, USC managed to stay close for a time behind Gibson (16 points and 12 rebounds) and Lewis (16 points, including two 3-pointers).

USC was within 35-31 early in the second half before UCLA struck with a 10-0 run fueled by three turnovers. The Trojans pulled back within four before another batch of three turnovers popped up.

"The game was there. They handed the game right to us a couple plays. We just didn't take care of the ball," Gibson said. "And that hurt us at the end. But hats off to UCLA. They played the same way we played when we went to their house. They played with a lot more intensity." f USC's going to make a it to the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans might be out of gas if they get there.

They played without guard Daniel Hackett, who is sidelined indefinitely with a stress fracture in his back.

Hackett said it was evident that having four players play 40 minutes took its toll.

"Defensively, they played great, but the guys were tired out there," Hackett said. "It's tough when they have six guys like that and there's so much pressure from the other team."

Still, USC managed to stay close for a time behind Gibson (16 points and 12 rebounds) and Lewis (16 points, including two 3-pointers).

USC was within 35-31 early in the second half before UCLA struck with a 10-0 run fueled by three turnovers. The Trojans pulled back within four before another batch of three turnovers popped up.

"The game was there. They handed the game right to us a couple plays. We just didn't take care of the ball," Gibson said. "And that hurt us at the end. But hats off to UCLA. They played the same way we played when we went to their house. They played with a lot more intensity."

It would be easy to say that I am confident that we can overcome but I'm not that charitable especially if we continue to play like we did last night. I could care less about the trash talk prior to the game the clowns from across town can make all they want out of it the fact is ucla should have won this game with their depth over an undisciplined USC team. They have their own issue with not being able to score for some 5 minutes towards the end of this game.

It's obvious that ucla can be beat so while I would expect them to do well in the Pac-10 I am not yet convinced that they will make it back to the Final Four, they have a tough time when teams bang on them and that is what you are going to see in the Big Dance. Of course anything can happen but I'm still not convinced they can handle that sort of physical play.

The game may have been ugly for some stretch but it's hard to argue that ucla played the type of defense they are known for. That's fine on one end of the floor but they still play some ugly offense. Yes, they may be better than last season, though I'm not yet convinced, but you can see where ucla can be beat. Kevin Love may have brought the final piece to the puzzle but it doesn't take much to get him off his game. Love is a beast at this level no doubt but he looked gassed as well and he isn't indefensible especially if he's getting his shot blocked by Taj and Davon. That happened more than once and if they can do it wait till he sees some real competition in the Big Dance. Mayo and Love both could use another year in college but I doubt it's going to happen.

So, that's where we're at. We need to win 4-5 games to feel comfortable about the tournament anything less will not help us. If we do make the tournament we will surely be playing out east because we will not get a great seed.

The Oregon schools visit us this week so lets see if we can get back on track.