Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up
View All Scores

Too many minutes behind USC’s up-and-down season?

USC’s had an odd season, to say the least.

Few teams can match lows of losing to Rider, Bradley and TCU and with highs of beating Texas and nearly knocking off Kansas. Maybe that’s why the Trojans (12-11 overall, 4-6 in the Pac-10) can’t seem to put together more than two wins at a time.

Of course, they’ve never lost more than two in a row. How do you explain that?

Coach Kevin O’Neill thinks his guys are gassed because of too many minutes. Four average more than 30 minutes a game and USC only has a seven-man rotation. But that can’t be it. Otherwise Ohio State would have issues. They use a seven-man rotation and five guys play at least 70 percent of their available minutes. Sure, the Buckeyes have more talent, but they’re also pulling off wins despite probably being “gassed.”

USC guard Jio Fontan agrees. He thinks guys are tired because the Trojans aren’t winng.

“It’s hard to play like you have pep in your step if you’re not playing well,” he told the Orange County Register.

Fontan’s a perfect example of that. When he finally became eligible this season after transferring from Fordham, O’Neill declared Fontan would be the Trojans’ best everything. Shooter, scorer, passer, defender, you name it.

Yet Fontan’s hit the wall. The L.A. times notes the point guard – who averaged 15.8 points during his first four games – has scored just 8.2 during the last nine. Twice in the past three games, Fontan hasn’t scored at all.

Is it a coincidence that two of the last three games were losses (and the other a two-point win)? Probably not.

USC has talented guys. Fontan, junior forward Nikola Vucevic, forward Alex Stephenson, senior Maurice Jones. They all can play. What happens is sometimes they just play dumb.

Guess that makes for an odd season.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.