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Is it the Coaching or the Talent?

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Its hard to know what to think after last nights loss. It would be easy to light Tim Floyd up for another collapse after holding a double digit lead and there are some here and elsewhere that will do that.

I won't do that for many reasons but to me the most important reason not to do it is because it won't change a thing. More on that in a bit but here is what is being said in the morning papers...

From The LAT:

Reporting from Palo Alto -- When a team shoots worse at the free-throw line than the other team shoots from beyond the three-point line, it's in trouble.

Such was the case for USC in a 75-63 loss to Stanford on Saturday. The Trojans were nine for 21 on free throws. The Cardinal was 12 for 22 on three-pointers.

"A missed free throw is a momentum changer," USC Coach Tim Floyd said. "We missed free throws in key situations, as well. That gives the other team a big lift."

I would agree to an extent, but getting T'd up (a double one at that) is also a game changer as we saw against ASU. Seldom does a team react in a positive way like SC did against CAl when the coach gets T'd up...that's the exception not the norm.

FRom The OCR:

"Winning and playing winning basketball," USC coach Tim Floyd said when asked his team needs to focus on. "We're going to need to get our defense back to where it was. We were holding teams below 40 percent (shooting). And try and get a little confidence with a couple of home wins and see if we can carry that into the (Pac-10) Tournament."

That formula was working for a while on Saturday. USC owned a 33-29 lead at halftime thanks to holding Stanford to 36 percent shooing (10 of 28). However, after playing well in the early part of the second half, the Trojans fell apart.

Playing winning basketball? How about hitting some free throws. You're the defensive guru so how about some defensive adjustments to neutralize your opponents three point shooting....I mean come on, getting outscored 40-17 over the final 14 minutes? Something just isn't working here. Where were the adjustments when Stanford went to full court press?

You can only blame the officiating for so long. Officiating had nothing to do with going cold in the first 7 minutes in the second half of the Cal game.

I am almost happy that SC's games aren't on TV, getting updates from LS was enough to sicken me if I would have seen it I probably would have slit my wrists.

As for Floyd to me its simple...he is not going anywhere against his will as long as Garrett is at the helm and Garrett is untouchable. He won't be blamed for Mayo because the school will site the NCAA clearing him with all the rumors swirling.

I'm not going to sit here and say Floyd hasn't done anything right but if you put the teams performance on a chart you would see a downward trend...

  • 2007 - Loss in the Sweet 16 to UNC (with Bibby's players)
  • 2008 - Loss in the first round to K-State
  • 2009 - Will not make the tournament (anyone happy with the NIT?)

Sure there have been some positives. There has been a lot renewed interest in USC basketball because of Floyd's recruiting and because of what we saw in the teams performance in 2007 and 2008. He will have a top 10 class coming in next season, he had a solid class in Mayo's year though we have yet to pay the price for the Mayo mess but no one will deny that last season was incredibly fun to watch. Things looked promising this year but clearly the results have been less than stellar.

On the positive side, that Floyd has been able to recruit the way he has while ucla still gets the pick of the litter when it comes to hoops recruiting in L.A., even while the Mayo mess still hanging over SC's head is impressive. Floyd has done a decent job of getting top talent, he just hasn't grabbed enough of it. We all know the NCAA is going to lower the boom on SC, its just a matter of when. They will do it to send a message in regards to the Bush mess because SC is pretty much in the clear there but also to reinforce their position because of their own incompetence over clearing Mayo when it appears the evidence may have been there...I call it the Boomerang effect.

On the negative side Floyd has had a higher number players transfer that we have seen at other schools and that does raise an eyebrow. Not because the players went on to greatness elsewhere but because for whatever the reason the impression it gives is one that shows some instability in the program. On principle most of us would agree that it was the right thing for Floyd to let Angelo Johnson go when he demanded a starting position but on the practical side would any of us been upset had Floyd capitulated to Johnson's wishes moving Hackett to the wing and having a true point guard run the offense?

Floyd has probably been bit by the injury bug a little more than most teams but them's the breaks. All teams have to deal with the injury bug...we just don't have the depth to counter it. And while I have no problem showering Floyd with praise in regards to his recruiting over all, I have no problem criticizing him for wasting recruiting spots on players like Millier and Diarra while getting the "gift" of not having Hackett take up a spot.

Its been a disappoitng season to say the least...the games that stand out are against Seton Hall, Oregon St., ucla and UW. Win any two of those and the season looks very different especially if the two wins are against the Pac-10 opponents.

So, going back to the title of this piece, is it the coaching or the talent? Both have had some moments but the poor performances have clearly over shadowed what was once a promising season. No one is blameless, the question is now is how to fix it...