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The USC men's basketball season came to an end today with a 55-40 loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament, which left the Trojans licking their wounds after a 6-26 campaign.  Kevin O'Neill's program played the season governed by Murphy's Law, whatever could go wrong did.

1163895670_TPjYA-L-1.jpgSo, while the players would not admit to a sense of relief, the outlook is a lot more optimistic when looking ahead to 2012-13.

"We do have a lot to look forward to," said O'Neill.  "Guys developed as players that wouldn't have had an opportunity to play that kind of minutes. We're adding almost a whole new team."

The Trojans do not have a scholarship senior on this roster.  Injured starters Jio Fontan, Dewayne Dedmon and Aaron Fuller are expected to fully recover. 

Transfers Ari Stewart, an athletic wing, and Eric Wise, a sturdy power forward, are now available after sitting out a year.  And, a recruiting class led by electric scorer J.T. Terrell will provide a further boost.

"We do have a bitter taste in our mouth," said Garrett Jackson, who had 11 points today.  "Things would have been a lot different if we didn't have as many injuries, so I'm looking forward to getting everyone at full health."

USC's dreams of going from worst-to-first will be fueled by the motivation of a season to forget.

"This whole year is motivation," said Byron Wesley, who led USC scorers with 13 points against the Bruins.  "We lost to our rival UCLA three times, which just can't happen."

After six wins overall and just one in conference, O'Neill is ready to start next season right now.  He praised his team's work ethic and is looking forward to the day that it translates into results.

"We'll appreciate winning a whole lot more going forward," he said.

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