The USC men's basketball program was ranked as the No. 121 best team this season by SI.com.
Sports Illustrated used a complex formula to statistically predict each team's offensive and defensive efficiency numbers and then simulated the full 2014-15 season 10,000 times to determine the rankings of every team in Division I college basketball.
It's a bottom-up model that on offense, projects every Division I player's efficiency and shot volume using past college statistics (and stats of similar players over more than a decade), recruiting ratings (which have some predictive value over immediate performance and development curves), and the quality of their head coach and teammates. These stats are then placed within the context of each team's rotation, and used to make a team offensive efficiency projection.
The teams are ranked based on their median outcome in the 10,000 simulations. The simulation machine isn't a huge fan of Andy Enfield's Trojans. USC is ranked No. 121 behind other Southern California schools such as UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine. The Trojans are also behind schools such as Fresno State and St. Mary's.
USC is the 10th squad in the Pac-12, besting only Washington State (No. 130) and Oregon State (No. 257) -- two clubs that both have new head coaches this season. The Trojans only return 37 percent of their minutes from last season, but they do feature four former Top 100 recruits on the squad led by outstanding freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda HS).
McLaughlin is projected to be the No. 26 scoring freshman by SI.com at 9.1 points per game while fellow freshmen Elijah Stewart (Westchester HS) and Malik Marquetti (Millikan HS) also rank in the top 50 of projected freshmen scorers. Stewart is No. 31 overall at 8.7 ppg and Marquetti is 10 spots lower at 8.0 ppg.
The Trojans also feature redshirt sophomore Katin Reinhardt, who sat out last season after transferring from UNLV. SI.com has Reinhardt ranked as the No. 5 scoring transfer projecting him to score 12.9 points. Fellow redshirt sophomore Darion Clark also makes the scoring transfer list at 8.1 points per game.