Perhaps expectedly, all things considered, USC are not a deep team. They weren't a deep team last season, playing only about 7 players on any given night, and then they got shallower. Mike Gerrity, Marcus Johnson and Dwight Lewis graduated, while Leonard Washington was dismissed and transferred to Wyoming. The Trojans added Fordham transfer Jio Fontan, gave considerably bigger roles to little-used seniors Donte Smith and Marcus Simmons, whilst adding freshman big man Garrett Jackson, and guards Maurice Jones and Bryce Jones. But after only a few months, Bryce Jones transferred, citing a lack of playing time (quite the claim from a freshman getting 21mpg). And now they're back to only 7 again.
[...] USC do it with defense, giving up only 63 points per game, and Marcus Simmons is a big part of that. Defense is pretty much all he does, but he's tough, athletic, aggressive and smart on that end, and was the Pac-10 defensive player of the year. The two big men defend, as does Maurice Jones, who is only 5'7, but who is speedy and disruptive. Smith and Fontan do their share, and while freshman Garrett Jackson doesn't play good defense at this time, he has the size and athleticism to develop on that end. As is somewhat inevitable by a team so strong defensively, USC can struggle offensively; Smith is rather limited to the three pointer, and is a rather poor ballhandler, especially for a 5'11 guard). Jones is not a good ball handler cannot create his own shot and is not a great half court point guard, and Simmons and Jackson contribute little on that end. Fontan is the only guard who can create his own shot, and yet he's neither great at this nor a great outside shooter. Offensively, it's all rather dependent on Vucevic. Yet the defense maintains. [...]