The 2015-2016 USC Basketball Team is the best we have seen from the Trojans in a while. First off in the regular season the Trojans swept their cross-town rival, UCLA Bruins this season, which is always a big deal for the Cardinal and Gold. They beat UCLA both times by double digits, which was the first time the Trojans have done so since 1938. So saying this year's sweep of the baby Bears was anything less than huge, would be an understatement.
The Trojans are 20-11 overall and 16-2 at Galen Center this season, going into the Pac-12 Tourney; which is impressive in the competitive Pac-12 Conference. The Trojans position in the NCAA Tournament is in flux as selection Sunday approaches. The Trojans, however, have a shot to make some noise in the Pac-12 Tourney and solidify their slot in the Big Dance. This year's team has many good players and seems to have great chemistry; such as leading scorer, Jordan McLaughlin, as well as Julian Jacobs, who makes a lot of big plays and seems to be featured on SportsCenter every other week, along with many role players that have made an impact on this team including freshman Big-Man Chimezie Metu.
There are many aspects of this year's USC Trojans team that are very similar to the USC teams from 2006 to 2009. We'll start with wins, the teams from 06-09 averaged around 22.5 wins a season, and as I stated above the current team already has 20 wins this season and should be very close to the 06-09 average. Also as I mentioned earlier is the amount of role players this year's team has, such as Metu, and Guard Elijah Stewart.
The teams from 06-09 had the likes of Daniel Hackett, Dwight Lewis, and Nikola Vucevic playing important roles in those 3 seasons. Another interesting tidbit about this squad is the fact that they might need to go deep into this year's Pac-12 Tourney to get into post-season play. This is similar to what the 08-09 team did, when they went on a tear in the Pac-10 Tournament, and ended up winning the Tournament in dramatic fashion. Thus getting an automatic bid into the big dance and DeMar DeRozan earning a much-deserved Tournament MVP honor.
Something that this squad lacks in comparison to the teams from 06-07, 07-08, and 08-09 seasons is a true superstar player. The Trojan Basketball Teams from 2006-2009 were very talented, and was the only three-year period in school history where the Trojan Basketball team made it to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments. In each of those three seasons USC had a superstar/First-Round NBA Talent on each of those squads: Nick Young 06-07, O.J. Mayo 07-08, and DeMar DeRozan 08-09. Also Taj Gibson played on all three of these USC teams, receiving the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the year award in his final season with the Trojans in 09.
However, this does not mean that the Trojans can't go deep in this years Tournament. As I said earlier this team seems to have a certain chemistry that is very important in the postseason, they have great nucleus of players, and many great role players to boot. The fact that they don't have a superstar player like in the 06-09 makes them much more balanced and less reliant on any one player, which ended up hurting them in the long run in the NCAA Tournament. First lets see if the Trojans can get into the Tournament, and then lets watch them get to work. Fight On!