USC Sits Tight In Indianapolis, Counting On Its Size

USC dealing with March isolation at NCAA Tournament

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  Things are a little different at the NCAA Tournament this year as college basketball plays through the pandemic. So much so that just taking an outdoor team picture is cause for celebration for USC.

“I have not been outside since we’ve been here, two days,” head coach Andy Enfield said Wednesday. “We’re excited to see some daylight.”

Such is life in Indianapolis this year. Like all 68 teams in the tournament, the Trojans have the entire floor of a hotel to themselves to avoid outside variables. Food is brought to their rooms, and the hotel has an indoor bridge that connects to the convention center where practices are held.

Gone is the typical festivity that accompanies the event. No community events, no team dinners to celebrate reaching the Big Dance, no fans waiting outside the hotel to cheer the team as it boards the bus to the arena.

Family members can’t even be there for that purpose. Enfield said that when his wife and three children arrive in Indianapolis on Thursday, his only interaction with them will be to wave from the court prior to tip-off.

“I really enjoy watching the family members of the staff get on the plane and fly out with the team and be part of our program for a few days at a very special time of year,” Enfield said. “The atmosphere is totally different.”

There have been some complaints from players in this bubble environment about the quality of food the NCAA is providing for the student-athletes, especially in light of the recent name, image and likeness debate. It’s led to some players, most notably Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Rutgers’ Geo Baker, to start tweeting about the issue using #NotNCAAProperty.

“Players ISOLATED entire year to help make this tournament happen,” Baker tweeted on Tuesday. “NCAA: rewarded w/ $900 million. Players: rewarded w/ free deodorant and small boxed meals.”

USC freshman center Evan Mobley, though, said he is enjoying the bubble experience as best he can, even if it admittedly doesn’t live up to the image he had in mind when he dreamed about this moment.

“They got good food, everything, so it’s a great experience so far,” Mobley said. “I would like it to be like normal, like in the past years, but it is how it is with the coronavirus and everything. But it’s been great so far.”

WAITING GAME

Sixth-seeded USC has one day left until it finds out who it will play in the first round, as 11 seeds Wichita State and Drake face off for that right on Thursday at 3:27 p.m. PT.

Mobley said he has yet to review much video of either potential opponent, but he says USC will be watching Thursday’s game to see how those teams approach the First Four matchup to help kick off the NCAA Tournament.

Enfield praised both Drake and Wichita State’s accomplishments this season but also said the opponent won’t necessarily change the style of play USC deploys.

“You have to do what you do well at this point in the season,” Enfield said. “You also have to make adjustments to guard the other team. I think both Wichita and Drake present challenges with us. We have a size advantage in the interior but they have some advantages at different positions.”

ocregister.com

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Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 18, 2021 11:04 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

That’s nice, but the Jets, like the Trojans, need to rebuild their OL.

LawyerJohn
Knighted Member
LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
March 18, 2021 9:12 am

As usual, Evan Mobley taking the high road. We are going to miss this kid.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 18, 2021 11:11 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I think PC knows as well as anyone what is needed for the seahawks to improve. Wilson’s remarks just gives PC more leverage to convince the ownership heirs (the old man isn’t around anymore) to open up their checkbook. They may not be so willing to do so. And if that is the case, some of the blame goes to them. It wouldn’t be the first time the family survivors have changed the philosophy of what the program will be.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jamaica
Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 18, 2021 11:37 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Oh and you are saying the ownership has nothing to say what an AD-HC can do? You may be right about PC holding most of the cards. But he may not be so free as before to make quick changes. That’s all I am saying.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 18, 2021 11:49 am
Reply to  Jamaica

I refer to the Carolina Panthers, the Chicago bears, the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons where the deceased owners took over the program and made changes not necessarily popular with their fanbases.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
March 18, 2021 7:11 am

That last sentence says a mouthfull. We have Mobley, they have everything else.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
March 18, 2021 11:13 am
Reply to  Steveg

No doubt about it, Trojan guard-play has to step up.

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
March 18, 2021 1:01 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Too much laying around can make your legs heavy till you get moving again.