Top 3 reasons why JuJu Watkins' USC could win 2025 NCAA Championship

3 reasons why JuJu Watkins
3 reasons why JuJu Watkins' USC could win 2025 NCAA Championship

USC Trojans ended their 2024 March Madness with a historic Elite Eight appearance, their first since 1994. Despite the loss to UConn, the Trojans are more confident than ever about their chances for the 2024-25 season.

Here are a few reasons why the next season could be the one JuJu Watkins and Co. end USC's 40-year championship drought.

Top three reasons why JuJu Watkins' USC could win the 2025 NCAA Championship

#1 JuJu Watkins

2006 was the last time the USC Trojans won an NCAA Tournament game. However, they exited in the second round. The next two appearances in 2014 and 2023, saw them exit in the first round.

This was the USC that 2023 No. 1 recruit JuJu Watkins chose to be a part of. She received offers from perennial contenders like Stanford and South Carolina but the LA native chose her hometown school because she wanted to restore its legacy. Watkins was the first Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year to choose USC since Lisa Leslie in 1990.

The "JuJu Effect" ensued as the guard took over as the face of the team. She led them to a 29-6 overall record in the Pac-12. Her debut game saw her scoring 32 points, and she consistently achieved double-digit scores in nearly every game, with the exception of her 9-point performance against Standford.

The team's overall performance this year has given Watkins and the Trojans fans immense hope for the 2024-25 season.

#2 No.1 recruiting class in the country

USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb has six new commitments from the 2024 recruiting class which includes three top-30 ranked players: Kennedy Smith, Kayleigh Heckel and Avery Howell. Rian Forestier and Laura Williams feature in the top 100. Brooklyn Shamblin, a three-star guard, wrapped up the incoming freshman list.

This talent-heavy roster also means that the team will not have to rely solely on JuJu Watkins, given the freshman played an average of 34.6 minutes in 34 games in her first year. A less-burdened Watkins is more sustainable for the Trojans to ensure that she remains healthy throughout the season.

#3 Conference realignment

At Pac-12, the USC Trojans played games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The short turnaround meant tired players without a proper rest. From 2024 onwards, the team will join the Big Ten, which does not have this scheduling conflict.

In addition to this, the Trojans' biggest rivals Colorado, Utah and Stanford are being shifted to other conferences. This increases the chances of the team being featured in the top three. USC's biggest rivals would be Iowa and Ohio State.

What do you think are the USC Trojans' chances for the next season? Let us know in the comment section below.

Also Read: IN PHOTOS: USC star JuJu Watkins bags another Freshman of the Year honor following stellar season

What could Alabama basketball's 2024-25 starting lineup look like? Find out here

Edited by Garima
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