Here’s how USC can have a March Madness run

How the Trojans can fight on and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

LOS ANGELES — The USC men’s basketball team has had an interesting season. The Trojans have been able to topple the likes of No. 4 UCLA but have also fallen to Florida Gulf Coast, USC men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield’s former team. They can play extraordinarily well but have also played well below average and lost to teams they should have beaten. Despite these ups and downs, the Trojans are in the midst of their fourth straight season with 20 wins. They are also currently ranked third in the Pac-12 but are still a bubble team and are on the edge of making it to the NCAA tournament. With the regular season coming to a close it appears the Trojans will get the invitation, but here are few ways to ensure they will make it to the dance.

1. Limit Drew Peterson’s turnovers

There is no doubt that fifth year senior guard Drew Peterson is one of USC’s star players as he is their second leading scorer with a total of 410 points, averaging 14.6 points per game, but he has one fatal flaw. He constantly turns over the ball. Peterson has the highest number of turnovers for the Trojans and has the seventh most turnovers in the Pac-12. Peterson has turned over the ball a total of 78 times averaging 2.8 per game. Enfield needs to figure out a solution to Peterson’s kryptonite quickly because this could be detrimental against a team like Arizona and when the Pac-12 Tournament comes along. 

2. Leave it to Boogie

Senior guard Boogie Elis has been a game changing player for the Trojans and has been the key to many of their wins this season. He leads the team with nearly 20 points per game and without his stellar performance in the second half of the UCLA game it’s safe to sat USC would not have won that game. Elis has proven he is clutch. When in doubt they need to give the ball Boogie.

3. Make way for the future

Two freshman players stand out in particular on the Trojans: guard Tre White and forward Vincent Iwuchkwu. White in his first year has been a standout player, has proven he can shoot from behind the arch, and appears to be following in the footsteps of Elis. As the season comes to close White has the perfect opportunity to show he will be the new face of this program and it’s time for him to takeover. As for Iwuchkwu he has not disappointed since returning to the court after suffering cardiac arrest in the summer. He also has an advantage over everyone that you can not teach: height. Iwuchkwu stands at 7-foot-1 and his size and power is a total game changer when playing in the paint. Two sophomore players will also be big factors for the Trojans in guard Reese Dixon-Water and forward Kobe Johnson. The future looks bright but the future needs to be now for the Trojans to have a deep run.

4. Make free throws

Free throws have been a major issue for the Trojans in the past and the fans have been very vocal about it. USC has faced heavy criticism for the team’s inability to make free throws in previous seasons, but Enfield has been working on silencing the critics. Enfield understood this was something that needed to change and he has been working towards it the entire season. The progress has been noticeable with the Trojans at one point achieving the third most field throws without a miss in program history. USC’s free throw percentage is 74.3%., which is leading the Pac-12 through 28 games. USC will need to continue this improvement from the charity stripe to reach their potential this season.

5. Win out and go far in the Pac-12 Tournament

Enfield and The Trojans are on the brink of losing their spot in the NCAA Tournament so these final regular season games are crucial. Their finals opponents are Utah, Arizona and Arizona State. USC has already beaten two out of three of these teams and will likely punch their ticket to the tournament if they can do it again, that is unless they go into another slump like they did against Florida Gulf Coast. No .7 Arizona will obviously be a tough matchup for the Trojans but this time the Trojans will be playing at home at the Galen Center. If USC’s stars show up in front of an expected sellout crowd, we might see a repeat of the second UCLA game. Finally there is the Pac-12 Tournament. If the Trojans can win out, or at least put up a fight against Arizona, and make it to at least the quarterfinals then they have a good chance to be dancing and fighting on their way to March. 

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