Pac-10 preview: USC

Prior to the commencement of the 2009-2010 college basketball season, Hoopism will profile various NCAA teams. Today, the sixth installment of the Pac-10 previews: the USC Trojans.

If there’s a team with a bigger question mark on their backs, I don’t know who it would be.

Here we have a team that has classically underachieved for the last several years, that has lost its brilliant point guard (Camille LeNoir) and gained a coach who has never worked at the college level. A team that has me thinking the University is cursed because I’ve never seen so many injuries as have occurred in the last few years. A team that has had a number of players de-commit since Coach Michael Cooper’s hiring was announced, and now has a roster thinner than paper.

What’s going to happen?

If it’s business as usual, then it’ll be a game like the Dec. 19, 2008 contest at Galen Center, which saw ranked Duke visit. The Trojans had dominated the visitors the entire game, but fell apart in the last 2 minutes and gave the game away by eight points.

Or maybe it will be a new team – of which we saw the flashing possibilities in their victory last March over Cal in the Pac-10 tournament.

I hear Cooper has had the players running a lot and shooting many free throws because he doesn’t want them to lose games at the charity stripe. There’s also a rumor that ESPN 26th-ranked Cassie Harberts will sign with USC by next week, making her the first major “get” of the Cooper era. But other than that, I have no idea what’s going on in the land of Troy.

I hope, for the sake of the players and fans of the long-suffering program, that it’s good stuff.