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USC Men’s Basketball Preview

Trojans look to build off of last year

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Providence vs Southern California Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

That darn inbound play. I am still having nightmares after the last second loss to Providence in the 2nd round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament for the USC Men’s Basketball team. As the Trojans prepare to open the season tonight when they host the Montana Grizzlies, there will be a lot of new faces on the court for a team that should finish in the top section of the Pac-12 Conference.

Coming off of a 20+ win season and a tournament appearance, Andy Enfield looks like he is the right guy to turn around the USC basketball program. The Trojans won only 23 games in Enfield’s first two years with the program but after last year, it looks like Enfield might have finally brought stability to the program.

Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic are gone after they both left early for the NBA Draft but last year’s leading scorer Jordan McLaughlin highlights a team that should thrive off of Enfield’s style of play. The sophomore duo of Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu should throw down a lot of dunks and will have an even bigger role with the team. Junior forward Elijah Stewart has improved on both sides of the ball and will most likely attempt more shots from behind the arc with the departure of Katin Reinhardt, who transferred to Marquette.

Enfield once again had another fantastic recruiting class highlighted by two local studs in De’Anthony Melton and Jonah Matthews. Both guys will have a huge impact on the team from day one. After sitting out last year after transferring from Louisville, Shaqquan Aaron is poised to be one of the best players on the team this year. Add in the Minnesota transfer Charles Buggs and the Trojans have another talented and deep team.

USC has a very favorable non-conference schedule this year and will be looking to make the tournament in back-to-back years for the first time since 2008.