Evan Mobley Can’t Do It Alone…

USC must give Evan Mobley help for NCAA Tournament run

The freshman star scored 52 in two Pac-12 Tournament games, which were proof the Trojans need to offer more support

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  If there’s a positive the USC men’s basketball team can take from its early exit from the Pac-12 Tournament, it’s that Evan Mobley is ready for the spotlight.

The freshman phenom set and then matched his career-high in scoring, dropping 52 points in two games to go with 18 rebounds and 10 blocks.

The flip side of this, though, is it’s clear Mobley can take USC only so far if his teammates don’t play their supporting roles.

The Trojans are back in Los Angeles following Friday’s 72-70 loss to Colorado in the Pac-12 semifinals. They’ll get a day off before seeing where the selection committee will seed them for the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi pegs USC as a No. 6 seed to face the winner of the Syracuse-Drake play-in game.

So USC is going dancing. The question is how long it can last in Indiana, and, if Las Vegas was any indication, the answer is going to depend on how the supporting cast plays around Mobley.

“We can compete with anybody,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said following the Colorado loss. “I think we’re 19-0 when three guys get double figures and 3-7 when they don’t. … So we need a third scorer.”

For much of Friday, USC didn’t even have a second scorer. Tahj Eaddy, the only other Trojan to reach double figures against the Buffs, didn’t get on the board until there was 3:37 left. USC got 12 points from its four-man bench, which was minus-17 in 41 minutes of play.

Eaddy himself expressed concern about USC’s slow start against Colorado, noting it’s been a recurring problem for the Trojans this year. USC fell behind by 15 in the first half, and by the time it got its act together and shot 60% from the floor in the second half, it was never able to reclaim the lead.

“When we play good teams, we can’t afford to do things like that,” Eaddy said.

USC has had a successful year, going 21-6 in the regular season, bringing home a bundle of end-of-year awards after finishing second in the Pac-12. But if the Trojans are going to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in the Enfield era, Mobley will need help. And not just in crunch time, but for 40 minutes a night.

“We have to keep our heads up. Our players have to realize they have accomplished a lot,” Enfield said. “At the same time, everybody is going to be one-and-done once we get to Indianapolis and they have to realize that every possession will matter whenever we play our first game.”



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Knighted Member
LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
March 14, 2021 7:14 pm

So-called March Madness has arrived for the first time since 2019. But in truth, the “madness” only exists in the first week when 68 teams, some qualified–some not, maddenly play to determine the remaining Sweet-16 in Week Two, as the fakes get turned away, and only the college elite remain…

The Sweet-16 is a more accurate gauge of who in 2021 deserves a shot at the Holy Grail. As a West Coast guy, Gonzaga is on the radar, although I would prefer the SC Trojans pull off the college basketball miracle of the century.

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
March 14, 2021 5:36 pm

Gotta love March Madness! Just became a huge Michigan State fan, Go Spartans beat the Ruins! Hoping SDSU and USC can go far but not sure either one has more than one win in the cards. But hey, weird things can happen.

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
March 15, 2021 7:50 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

You sound just like me — my 2 favorite teams are USC and whoever is playing Cal Jr. 😎

Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
March 14, 2021 4:30 pm

Report: NCAA planning to move forward with limited one-time transfer rule.

What is weird to me it isn’t at this time good for the 2020 season. Perhaps that will change.

Knighted Member
LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
March 14, 2021 11:22 am

SC basketball appears to be a card-or-two short of a Full-House. The other Mobley was thought to bring more to the table than he has, and the guards’ shooting is inconsistent. History evidences that at least 3 excellent players are needed to carry basketball to a championship. The Trojans clearly only have one, so
Sweet-16 may be as far as it is capable of going…

Still, it has been a very nice ride by this 2021 Trojan edition, and Troy has apparently piqued at least a nodding-interest in thousands of “new” Trojan basketball fans.

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
March 14, 2021 8:49 am

4 of the 6 missed Free Throws were on the great Evan Mobley, 3 of 7. Drew Peterson was 0-2. Shooting the NCAA average of 70% would have won that game and there are no fans behind the basket to heckle. I don’t know how you get guys to be able to make a free unguarded shot from 15 feet away. I were coach I would have them shooting frees for a couple hours today.

Diamond Member
TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
March 13, 2021 7:56 pm

I hope that this was a “good loss”. The team gets to rest for an additional day. I remember Lute Olson always wanted to win the first one in the Pac tournament and then lose so his kids could rest and get ready for the tournament. In addition, hopefully, they learned something. I do not think ANY of these kids have played in a tournament prior to this one. They needed to see what it was like. And, SC cannot have their guards go AWOL for most of a game. My guess is SC will be lucky to win one… Read more »