Two college basketball teams took the floor on Sunday night at Galen Center, but there is a large chasm between the two schools. The UCLA Bruins decimated the USC Trojans 66-47 on Sunday night, completely outclassing the Trojans and highlighting the different paths that the two schools have taken.
UCLA opened their season 2-5, with embarrassing home losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State. Reeves Nelson, the team's leading scorer and rebounder from last season, feuded with coach Ben Howland and was eventually dismissed from the team. UCLA has turned the corner, winning eight of their last 10 contests, including each of their last three games. Travis Wear and David Wear have been effective on the inside, while senior guard Lazeric Jones has done everything asked of him while leading the team in points, assists, and steals. The Bruins were picked as one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 Conference, and they are starting to play like it. This week's tests on the road in Oregon will give us a better idea of whether or not UCLA can still contend for a conference title.
USC, meanwhile, has simply gone ice cold. Galen Center has become an offensive wasteland. The Trojans are 1-9 in their last 10 games and have averaged 50.8 points per game during that span, scoring under 50 points in seven of those 10 games. USC has shot under 40% from the field in nine of their last 10 games, and has shot a combined 36.1% during that span, since the beginning of December. The Trojans are 0-5 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2005, when they ended the year with a 5-13 conference record. Playing the way the Trojans are now, I'm not sure if there are five wins left on their schedule this season.
For more local college hoops news, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles and Bruins Nation.