On a positive note, a basketball thread on this site got nearly 200 comments. Other than that, I'm scrambling for positives other than, "well, at least they made the tourney!" On the eve of St. Patrick's Day in Dayton, Ohio, USC was embarrassed by a Virginia Commonwealth team that's most notable distinction was being a controversial at-large bid for the field of 68. Yet, when the game resulted in a 13-point win for the Rams, it appeared as if the Trojans were the more puzzling inclusion in this year's NCAA tournament.
It was, in many ways, difficult to anoint a winner in a contest, where both teams scored a combined 44 points at halftime - it was tied at 22. The primary takeaway in the aftermath, at least one held by many, was whether the expansion from 65 teams to 68 teams was necessary. Because yes, it was a watered down competition. No doubt. But when you compare the efforts from both teams, VCU unquestionably beat USC in nearly all aspects of the game. In the context of Wednesday night's game, the Trojans were soundly and thoroughly beaten.
"We didn't have it all night. We didn't have it." Kevin O'Neill told the media in the aftermath of tonight's loss. Surely, they didn't.
Most fans, as a result, and it's understandable, wish to discuss the job status of O'Neill. PointGuardU.com reported last week he was going to be fired. Sports by Brooks has hinted at such a possibility several times this week. Who knows. The folks in Heritage Hall will come to determination sooner rather than later.
More after the jump.
For now, though, USC will have to deal with a rather unsatisfactory taste left in its mouth in the aftermath of a game, in which it struggled immensely. In nearly every facet of the game, it was bettered by VCU. A few telling stats:
- Shot differential: VCU 59 attempts, USC 38 attempts
- Rebounds: VCU 35 USC 29
- Turnovers: VCU 8 USC 15