USC Basketball: Trojans will use official NCAA basketball for first time since Tennessee game
USC began practicing Monday with the Wilson Official NCAA Game Ball, the official ball of the NCAA tournament that will be used in Wednesday night's first-round game between the Trojans (19-14) and Virginia Commonwealth (23-11).
The ball is made of composite leather and has a stronger grip than the Nike basketballs USC uses during its home games. The Trojans have played two games this season in which the Wilson ball has been used: at Kansas on Dec. 18 and at Tennesseeon Dec. 21. USC shot a combined 48 of 104 (46%) from the floor in those games, losing at Kansas, 70-68, and beating Tennessee, 65-64. USC is shooting 41.2% (721 for 1,751) on the season.
Speaking of close games, USC lost four of its first five games that were decided by three points or fewer or went to overtime. It has won its last three such games.
-- Baxter Holmes in Dayton, Ohio
Photo: An official game ball sits on a rack during practice the day before the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the McKale Center. Credit: Chris Morrison / US Presswire