USC tips off the 2018-2019 season November 6th as they host the Robert Morris Colonials. Last season the Trojans spent most of their time on the bubble and in indeed of quality wins, however at the end of the regular season they finished 2nd in the Pac-12 and earned a bye in the conference tournament. Despite that and making it to the Pac-12 Tournament final USC was on the outside looking in when selection Sunday came. The Trojans were left to play in the postseason NIT. This season they look to return to the big dance. The Trojans have a talented roster that could contend for the Pac-12 championship, but what are some questions that will be answered this coming season?
Who Replaces Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu?
USC lost two key players in Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu. McLaughlin was a senior while Metu opted to forego his senior season to enter the NBA Draft. Both were key players and leadership to the Trojans. The biggest question for them is how will they replace their production? Both were very good defenders in the Pac-12 with McLaughlin’s ability to get steals and Metu’s rim protection. USC will need to really step it up on that end of the court. At Point guard Derryck Thorton will assume the ball handing role despite only seeing 14 minutes a game, but expect to see freshman Elijah Weaver get some rotational time this season as well. A center the Trojans got a look at sophomore center Victor Uyaelunmo during the NIT tournament last season. The sophomore shown a lot of promise during the first two rounds of the tournament. Uyaelunmo and Nik Rakcoevic will has a job to do to replace the production of Metu, but USC will need for them to just be productive in general.
Can USC get some Non-Conference quality wins?
When the selection committee left USC out of the NCAA Tournament one of the biggest arguments against the Trojans was the lack of quality wins out of conference. To avoid that problem Andy Enfield made sure he filled the schedule with opponents that would catch the selection committee’s eyes. USC has games against Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and TCU. Teams who have all made the big dance. While it’s great to schedule some quality opponents, you do have to win those games to make the resume look good. USC will need at least two or three of those wins. If the Trojans find themselves in another bubble situation then they can fall back on those games that they won out of conference.
Will Kevin Porter Jr. live up tp the hype?
Kevin Porter Jr has been grabbing national attention for a good part of the spring and summer. The Trojans first 5 star player since DeMar DeRozan brings good size and athleticism to the guard position. Porter is projected to start along side former McDonalds All-American in Charles O'Bannon Jr The biggest question for Porter will be if he can carry his momentum into this season? There’s no doubt that the freshman will turn heads at USC. When NBA players start tweeting about you, you’re obviously doing something right. Porter averaged a double double at Rainier Beach. USC will have a player who can cover all three positions and gives them depth to mess with different rotations.