Regardless of the plight of his basketball team, USC Coach George Raveling continues to make a positive stand.
A month ago, he believed that his team was on the rise after beating California in Berkeley with a restructured, more deliberate offense.
It was a mirage. The Trojans haven't won a Pacific 10 Conference game since and have dropped five straight going into today's game with Washington State at the Sports Arena.
But Raveling continues to look ahead.
"There are a number of opportunities for us," he said. "If we sweep our series here with Washington State and Washington (Monday night), we'll be right back in the race to finish with an upper division berth."
USC, 3-13 overall and 1-6 in the Pac-10, is in last place, but only three games behind third-place Arizona State.
Raveling will continue with a starting lineup of guards Dave Wiltz and Andy Olivarez, center Chris Munk and forwards Chris Moore and Ronnie Coleman.
That was the same unit that started against Arizona State last Saturday, opening up an 18-point lead in the first half before losing, 78-74.
"I'm committed to that group for the next four games and then we will evaluate where we go from there," said Raveling, who has altered his starting lineup seven times this season.
Today's game begins at 3 p.m. and basketballs will be given to the first 300 youngsters 14 and under in attendance. . . . Washington State, 7-8 overall, 4-4 in the Pac-10, lost to UCLA Thursday night, 88-63. . . . WSU forward Brian Wright is one of the leading three-point shooters in the conference at 51.8%. Todd Anderson, the Cougars' 7-foot center, scored 18 points against the Bruins, making 9 of 12 shots.
USC Coach George Raveling said that forward Robert Hooper, a 29-year-old junior college transfer, has left the team to concentrate on his class work. He may return next season. . . . After 16 games, USC's 3-13 record is the worst start in the school's history. Number 2 on the list is the 1976-77 team that started 4-12 and wound up 6-20, the worst record since Ralph Glaze's 1916 team finished at 5-15. . . . Next year's season-ending Pac-10 basketball tournament will be held at the Forum. This year's tournament is scheduled March 10-13 at Arizona's McKale Center.