The USC Trojans basketball team is one of the most successful college basketball programs on the west coast. The Trojans first started playing basketball in the early 1900’s, placing USC among the oldest programs in the nation. In the early years of USC basketball, the team battled with crosstown rival UCLA for supremacy in California. USC had an instant presence in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Big Dance in the 2nd year the tournament was held in 1940. The Trojans inaugural presence in the NCAA Tournament saw USC take home their first ever NCAA Tournament victory, defeating Colorado 38-32. The win pushed USC to the Final Four, and remains one of the top moments in USC NCAA Tournament history.
The cardinal and gold made their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1954 and had another great run in the tournament. The Trojans handily beat Idaho State in their first game, before playing a double overtime thriller against Santa Clara, with USC coming out on top 66-65. The win over Santa Clara pushed the Trojans to their 2nd Final Four appearance. Behind the leadership of Forrest Twogood, USC went to the NCAA Tournament in back to back seasons in 1960 and 1961, making it the first time ever that the boys of Troy had succeeded in reaching the big dance twice in a row. Following the success in the early 1960’s, USC would experience the longest NCAA Tournament drought in school history, and would not return to March Madness until 1979.
The 2000’s have been one of the most successful periods in USC basketball history. The Trojans reached the NCAA Tournament in 2001, and again in 2002, making it only the 3rd time in school history that the Trojans played in back to back NCAA Tournaments. In 2001, the USC Trojans entered the NCAA Tournament as a #6 seed. After winning in the round of 64, the Trojans pulled off a major upset, defeating the #3 seed Boston College Eagles 74-71. The win set up a showdown with the #2 seed Kentucky Wildcats. The Trojans would once again come out victories, advancing to the Elite 8 for the first time since 1954.
USC Trojans Recent NCAA Tourament History
USC last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, when the Trojans were a #11 seed in the tournament. USC played the VCU Rams in the round of 68 and were defeated 59-46, ending their season. The 2011 season marked the 4th trip that USC had made to the NCAA Tournament since 2007, the most trips in a 5 year period in school history.