2012 shaping up to be special

first_img“Armchair Quarterback” runs Tuesdays. If you would like to comment on this story, visit DailyTrojan.com or email Andie at ahageman@usc.edu USC athletics is on the rise. Though there has never been a significant drop off in the land of Troy, it is undeniable that there has been a recent surge. USC currently boasts several national championship-caliber programs.Reign of Troy · USC’s men’s water polo team won its fourth consecutive national championship, setting the tone for the Trojans’ athletic dominance. – Kevin Nguyen | Daily TrojanIn 2011, two programs hoisted the national championship trophy over their collective heads — men’s tennis and men’s water polo.Because of the recent success in USC athletics among the men’s and women’s teams, the question must be asked: Is 2012 the year of Troy?The men’s water polo team won its unprecedented fourth-consecutive national championship in December, setting the surge of athletic success in motion.Without a doubt, the men’s and women’s water polo teams are officially in dynasty mode, greatly due to the leadership of coach Jovan Vavic.Though the No. 3 Women of Troy have not won the national championship since 2010, 2012 might yield a different result.With a record of 18-4 overall and 5-2 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference play, the Women of Troy currently sit in third place in conference standings before the conclusion of the regular season next week.The men’s volleyball team is leading the pack.The No. 1 Trojans are wrapping up their regular season (only two matches remain in the regular season) after defeating No. 2 UC Irvine in its 15th consecutive win.In the upcoming weeks, the Trojans will vie for the coveted MPSF title. Men’s volleyball boasts a 20-4 record overall in 2012 (16-4 MPSF record) and a handful of All-Americans.The Trojans are in prime position to make a run for the MPSF title as they are led by Tony Ciarelli the senior outside hitter, who totaled 146 career aces in the match against UC Irvine.Like volleyball, the men’s tennis program is on the verge of a title.The reigning three-peat champions (2009, 2010 and 2011) are holding strong at No. 1. Following a defeat of Arizona over the weekend, the Trojans possess a 23-0 record and a 43-match win streak.The men’s tennis team is looking to close out its “perfect” season against Bay Area rivals, California and Stanford to wrap up the regular season.The Trojans will be competing for the historic fourth-consecutive national championship, only 1966-1969.With the annual spring football game Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum, eyes have been fixed toward the USC football program.Similar to other Trojan athletic programs, the football team is hoping to be in Miami, Fla., come January 2013 for the BCS National Championship.Sure, it isn’t hard to imagine, considering the Trojans are fresh off of a 10-2 2011 season and have Heisman-hopeful Matt Barkley and safety T.J. McDonald returning for their senior seasons along with a cast of All-Americans returning for “unfinished business.”Not only are Trojans competing for NCAA glory, many Trojans (current students and alumni) will be competing for Olympic gold this August in London, thus, expanding the Trojans’ domination.Some have credited the recent success to USC athletic director Pat Haden and his excellent leadership since his arrival in 2010.In the short time that Haden has been athletic director, USC has won three national championships and numerous conference titles.Only time will tell until we see how many championships USC can rack up in the coming years.The recent success of USC’s athletic programs alludes to the newfound athletic dynasty on the USC campus. Though it is only April, 2012 is already proving to be the most fruitful for all of the Trojan athletic teams.last_img read more

Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about St. John’s

first_imgUPDATED, 6:01 p.m.: Red Storm reserve guard sharpshooter Federico Mussini did not make the trip to Syracuse, according to The New York Post.Syracuse (7-4) gets ready to take on St. John’s (5-7) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The Red Storm is the Orange’s penultimate nonconference opponent. SU is coming off a 48-point blowout win over Eastern Michigan on Monday.Here’s everything you need to know about St. John’s.All-time series: 51-39, Syracuse leads.Last time they played: Last season, the Orange traveled to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13 and suffered an 84-72 loss to St. John’s. SU went just 24-of-67 from the field. The Orange cut the deficit to seven points but never got closer than that after halftime. Malachi Richardson went 0-for-11 from 3 but proclaimed after the game that his shots would eventually fall. Under then-interim head coach Mike Hopkins, SU used a press defense to try and mount a comeback, but the hole was too big at that point. St. John’s’ Federico Mussini poured in a team-high 17 points on 5-of-7 from behind the arc.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe St. John’s report: The Red Storm enters its matchup with Syracuse on a two-game losing streak, dropping games to LIU Brooklyn and Penn State. St. John’s ranks as the 136th best team in the country, according to Kenpom.com. In adjusted efficiency, its offense ranks 157th and its defense ranks 133rd. Those numbers bode well for Syracuse, a team in search of stockpiling as many wins as possible due to the lack of impressive victories. A victory over the Red Storm wouldn’t qualify as impressive, but a win nonetheless.St. John’s also ranks second-to-last in all of Division I in “luck,” meaning it’s lost more close games than would be expected considering the number of close games SJU has played in. Six of the Red Storm’s seven losses have been by 11 points or less. That said, St. John’s has lost to some of college basketball’s worst teams: LIU Brooklyn, Old Dominion and Delaware State, among others.How Syracuse beats St. John’s: Don’t let Shamorie Ponds, Bashir Ahmed and Marcus LoVett get hot early in the game. St. John’s’ top three scorers could pose problems if they are all playing well together. They combine to average 46.5 points per game. Outside of those three, the Red Storm doesn’t have many other weapons. The Red Storm is allowing opponents to score 72.4 points per game so if SU can limit St. John’s’ offense, the Orange will roll to its eighth win of the year.Stat to know: 28 — Percent of possessions St. John’s’ Bashir Ahmed is used on, per Kenpom. That ranks fifth in the Big East and 136th nationwide. Percentage of possessions used means 28 percent of the Red Storm’s possessions end with an action by Ahmed while he’s on the court. Ahmed only plays 23.8 minutes per game, but when he’s in, the Red Storm’s offense flows through him. He’s also averaging 11.8 points and has a team-high 35 turnovers.Player to watch: Shamorie Ponds, guard, No. 2Ponds is one of just two players on the Red Storm who have started every game. He’s averaging 16.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 33 minutes per game. His 56.8 effective field-goal percentage ranks 277th in the country. In St. John’s’ last four games, Ponds has scored an average of 20.3 points. He’s the player Syracuse has to be concerned about. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 20, 2016 at 5:42 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschwedslast_img read more