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Depth Is Already a Concern

Statistics don’t always present the whole picture of a team.

One USC basketball statistic is telling, however, even after only five games.

The Trojans, who play six or seven players most games, have a noticeable drop in second-half shooting.

So far, USC has made 69 of 159 shots in the first half, a 43.4% rate. In the second, they have made 57 of 152, or 38%.

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Against Cal State Northridge and Utah State, the Trojans made fewer than 10 field goals in the final 20 minutes. Only once in five games have they shot a higher percentage in the second half. Against North Carolina, USC made 14 of 40 shots in the first half (35%), and 15 of 33 in the second (46%).

Of course, the Trojans have just finished a stretch of five games in nine days, three in three days at the Maui Invitational. The schedule will revert to two games a week, starting with Wednesday’s meeting with UC Santa Barbara.

Still, unless USC finds a seven-footer, they will rarely find front-court lineups that they can physically dominate for easy baskets. That would suggest a greater dependence on outside shooting.

And outside shooting becomes harder as legs and arms tire during a game.

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