Max Analysis: Back to Reality

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January 27, 2013 by Max Meyer

By Max Meyer

In Bob Cantu’s first three games as head coach, USC has played very competitively in Pac-12 play. However, they were simply blown out of the building against Arizona. Since I cannot think of anything positive after this demolition, I’ll instead write about two things that I didn’t like.

One Thing I Didn’t Like: USC’s Shot Selection

There’s a reason why USC shot 28.1 percent from the field in this game, and it wasn’t all because of Arizona’s outstanding perimeter defense. The Trojans simply did not move the ball effectively and were settling for difficult, contested shots.

USC only scored 20 points in the first half, and that’s because they didn’t take shots near the basket. In fact, the first USC made dunk or layup was Ari Stewart’s with 1:27 left to go in the first half. If the Trojan offense cannot attack the basket efficiently in any game, they might as well wave the white flag.

The starting lineup of Jio Fontan, J.T. Terrell, Byron Wesley, Eric Wise and Dewayne Dedmon made only seven of their combined 37 shots. Last game against Arizona State, that same group shot 31 of 60 from the field. USC finally had a bad game on offense under Cantu, and it’s bound to happen more often because of their streaky shooters.

Another Thing I Didn’t Like: The Turnovers

The beginning of this game was an abomination. USC’s first three offensive possessions all resulted in turnovers. They had 11 turnovers in the first half alone. USC in the first 12 minutes of the game had the same amount of turnovers (seven) as points.

Point guard Jio Fontan once again led the way with four turnovers. He’s had at least one in every single game this season. He’s had at least four turnovers in eight games, which is over one-third of the games that USC has played. This is not how you want your starting point guard to take care of the ball.

Everyone in USC’s starting lineup had multiple turnovers except for Dewayne Dedmon. However, he only played 17 minutes (foul trouble again) and didn’t touch the ball often in this game.

The turnovers have been a dangerous trend this season for the Trojans, and a lot of them are stupid mistakes. USC’s abundance of turnovers will take them out of several games this season if they don’t fix this problem.

Quick Hits

1. Renaldo Woolridge had his best game this season. This was the first time he’s made multiple field goals in a game, and he scored eight points. He obliterated his previous season-high of three. His 13 minutes played were also a season-best.

2. Omar Oraby continues to sink. In what was his worst game of the season (and that’s saying something), Oraby posted a donut in every single statistical category besides field goals attempted (one), turnovers (one) and fouls (four). While Oraby’s foul trouble certainly limited his playing time today, that will not be the reason he sits on the bench more in the future.

3. USC was a 14.5 point underdog against Arizona, so they now fall to 7-12-1 against the spread. I’m expecting USC to be a double-digit underdog in their next game against UCLA as well.

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