It's time for another game against Southern Cal.
Sure, I think I already have a good idea how things will turn out. It seems like 13-9 was only yesterday. And we've already dispatched the Trojan hoops squad at Costco, er, Pauley East, er, the Galen Center. So, on Wednesday at Pauley, it'll probably be just like football.
Okay, okay, even though it's soooo much fun, I shouldn't be too flippant. After all, Southern Cal has put together a nice little season so far. And, although some Trojan fans are suffering from delusions of grandeur, it wouldn't be fair to minimize USC's accomplishments. After all, they're 2nd place in the Pac-10. They've made a rare appearance in the rankings. And, they've likely earned themselves a spot in a post-season tournament not called the NIT.
And I think that's great. Good for them.
But, what's up with some Southern Cal fans? I understand getting excited. But, man oh man, they are saying some nutty stuff out there. The gap has narrowed? The Trojans have arrived in basketball? Really?
Fortunately, I've made a discovery that clears up a lot of this nonsense. It seems that our Trojie friends have developed a set of "talking points" for their fans. Apart from some basic information -- including an excerpt from a "dummies" book describing the game of basketball for alumni who have never witnessed the game -- there is this intriguing section:
What makes a great basketball program? Many things, including tradition, winning, coaching, players, recruiting, an engaged/knowledgeable fan base, integrity and institutional excellence. As you know, USC lacks all of this in basketball. But that doesn't mean that you can't be a Trojan blowhard! Armed with these handy tips, you'll be able to get the better of those 'ruins (besides when they are cleaning your house -- har-har-har). Fight on!
Unfortunately, USC has zero basketball tradition. Should any UCLA fans point out this inconvenient fact, take the following steps: (1) argue that UCLA's 11 national championships are "ancient history"; (2) refer to UCLA's championship banners as "dusty" or "from another era"; (3) mention unsubstantiated rumors about Sam Gilbert; (4) remind listener that UCLA lost to Florida last year -- ignore that this was in national championship game; (5) light a small fire in nearby trash receptacle and run away.
Sadly, USC hasn't done much winning. However, this is a strong suit for us this year. If any UCLA fan mentions winning, take the following steps: (1) froth at mouth and repeat "its all about winning" twenty times or until listener walks away; (2) fawn about 18 wins this season; ignore the 6 loses; (3) ignore loss to UCLA at Galen Center; (4) mention fluke win against UCLA in 2005; (5) change subject to football.
As you know, Tim Floyd is an unstable lunatic. Nevertheless, should a UCLA fan mention coaching, take the following steps: (1) emphasis Timmeh's on-court "passion"; (2) use cliché about Floyd helping Trojans "turn the corner" one year earlier than expected; (3) avoid comparisons to Ben Howland (man, that guy can coach); (4) talk up Arizona and Lute Olson; (5) mention Phil Jackson, but avoid any discussion leading to the Chicago Bulls.
Every several years, USC gets some decent players. Should this subject arise, take the following steps: (1) hyperventilate about Harold Miner, I mean, Nick Young; (2) mention players who are coming next year; (3) avoid questions about why freshman stand-out is 21 years old.
Recruiting isn't exactly a historical strong point. That is, until we started paying more for players! If the subject comes up, take the following steps: (1) mention OJ Mayo; don't mention of OJ Simpson; (2) mention recruiting draw of Galen Center and Tim Floyd; (3) avoid mention of Reggie Bush and Floyd's NBA record of 93-235; (4) feign ignorance of prior OJ misconduct, including suspension after incident with a female student; say the HS referee "fell on purpose".
Engaged Fan base/Community
Nothing is more important to USC than family. But the fan base for Trojan basketball literally didn't exist until just last year. Should any UCLA fan mention this, take the following steps: (1) make reference to the high level discourse on Trojan message boards; (2) avoid the term "bandwagon" entirely; (3) refuse to answer questions regarding number of SC basketball games attended prior to 2005; (4) blindly level ad hominem attacks at Bruins Nation; (5) retreat to sanctuary of Beach Club or Jonathan Club and discuss what to do next with grandpa's money.
Integri-what? The word "institutional" used outside of the phrase "lack of institutional control"? Sure, these aren't Southern Cal's strong points. So, if this topic is mentioned, take the following steps: (1) minimize the significance/ramifications of ongoing spate of misconduct afflicting USC; (2) say "everyone does it" until hoarse; (3) attack the motives of anyone pointing out obvious, repeat misconduct; call them a hater; (4) point out that OJ Mayo isn't a student yet, and that Reggie Bush is no longer; (5) explain that senora Ross gives USC an "A" for integrity; (6) quote Wetzel piece about Sam Gilbert; (7) curl body into fetal position and play dead until conversation ends.
Explains a lot, doesn't it?