7. USC Trojans - 6-5
The most important win of the season for USC was getting back Bronny James from a scary situation in the offseason when he suffered a heart-related incident. He’s been back for a couple of games off the bench in limited minutes and the hope is that he adds to the backcourt depth behind Isaiah Collier and Boogie Ellis, who are combining to average over 35 ppg and 7 apg.
Outside of those two and Kobe Johnson being a double-digit scorer, not much else has gone right for the Trojans. The frontcourt is filled with talented transfers and former top-40 prospects but collectively, they’ve struggled. The best wins to date are Kansas State and Seton Hall, though they’ve also struggled against the Big West.
Losses to both UC Irvine and Long Beach State are going to hurt USC’s resume, while also giving up 89+ points in recent defeats to Gonzaga and Auburn. The defense will need to improve to get back in the NCAA Tournament and against power conference backcourts going forward, that’s going to be a challenge.
USC still has plenty of talent to work with and they’re going to need it to come through, as they go on the road to take on Oregon and Oregon State to open league play. As long as they don’t fall to the Beavers, they won’t be on dangerous grounds when it comes to postseason aspirations.