USC Men's Basketball 2018 NIT Tournament Capsule

USC Trojans

Pac-12 (23-11, 12-6)

Despite dealing with some eligibility issues and injuries, USC has had a very good season. The Trojans finished second in the Pac-12 with a 12-6 record, two games behind leader Arizona. It took a few years, but Coach Andy Enfield has this program moving forward and they should continue to keep competing for conference titles. Getting a little momentum with a postseason run will help.
Big Wins: 12/23 vs Middle Tennessee (89-84), 1/18 at Oregon (75-70), 2/24 at Utah (74-58)
Bad Losses: 12/2 at SMU (55-72), 12/19 Princeton (93-103), 1/7 at Stanford (76-77)
Coach: Andy Enfield
Why They Can Surprise:
Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart are experienced seniors in the backcourt. McLaughlin dishes out 7.5 assists per game, while committing just 2.5 turnovers. He is the main reason USC ranks in the top 10 in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. McLaughlin can score too. He averages 12.4 points per game and connects on 39.5 percent of his three-point shots. Stewart is the team’s most prolific three-point shooter and is always a threat to go off and score 20 or more points. Sophomore Jonah Mathews is another dangerous shooter. When those three are knocking down shots, USC can score in bunches.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The Trojans did well throughout the season with the players that they had. However, a knee injury in February ended the season for Bennie Boatwright. The 6-10 junior was averaging 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds through 23 games this year. The Trojans have missed him down the stretch of the season and they will miss him in the tournament too. The good news is that they have Chimezie Metu. The 6-11 forward leads the team with 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. He is a beast in the paint on both ends of the floor, but more containable without Boatwright by his side. Nick Rakocevic has stepped into the starting slot and has done an admirable job. He is a strong rebounder and a decent scorer. Jordan Usher, a 6-7 wing, has been forced into a larger role off the bench to help supplement the depleted frontcourt. If Metu or Rakocevic run into serious foul trouble, the Trojans usual advantages in the frontcourt will be neutralized.
Probable Starters:
Jordan McLaughlin, Senior, Guard, 12.4 ppg, 7.5 apg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 spg
Jonah Mathews, Sophomore, Guard, 9.5 ppg, 1.0 apg
Elijah Stewart, Senior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 1.3 apg
Chimezie Metu, Junior, Forward, 15.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Nick Rakocevic, Sophomore, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Key Role Players:
Jordan Usher, Freshman, Forward, 4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Shaqquan Aaron, Junior, Guard, 4.4 ppg
Derryck Thornton, Sophomore, Guard, 3.7 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.2 (69th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.3 (148, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.9 (70, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.2 (202, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (114, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.8 (57, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.5 (129, 6)
Rebound Margin: 1.4 (145, 7)
Assists Per Game: 16.0 (42, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.5 (15, 1)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2017    NCAA Opening Round win over Providence
2017    NCAA Round of 64 win over SMU
2017    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Baylor
2016    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Providence
2011    NCAA Opening Round loss to VCU
2009    NCAA Round of 64 win over Boston College
2009    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Michigan State
2008    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Kansas State
2007    NCAA Round of 64 win over Arkansas
2007    NCAA Round of 32 win over Texas  
2007    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to North Carolina
2002    NCAA Round of 64 loss to North Carolina-Wilmington
*all team stats through 3/4