Still looking for a place to take in the big game tonight? Check out these watch parties and deals:Broward:W Fort Lauderdale401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; (954) 414-8300 or Marriott.com and Eventbrite.comThe hotel’s Living Room Lounge will kick off its free 6 p.m. watch party with beer samples from Wynwood’s Concrete Beach Brewery, $35 bucket specials, $6 drafts and football-themed bites from chef Stephen Starr as game day action plays on nearby jumbo screens.Royal Pig Pub350 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; (954) 617-7447 or RoyalPigPub.comThis gastropub will broadcast the game on all 31 of its TVs. They are offering a burger, French fries and a beer for $10, along with bottomless Grey Goose cocktails for $27.97 starting at 5 p.m. There also will be Bud Light seltzer samples from 6:30 to 8 p.m.Township219 S Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; (954) 338-4070 or TownshipFTL.comEnjoy $5 Grey Goose and $5 Cazadores cocktails, 5-for-$19 buckets of Bud Light and Bud Light Seltzer and 20 percent off sharables and pretzels. There will also be cornhole, ping-pong and Jenga on the patio and a 96-inch projector screen showing the game.Legends Tavern and Grille10 SW Sixth St., Pompano Beach; (754) 220-8932 or LegendsTavernAndGrille.comGet 75-cent wings, $3 Bud Light drafts and $4 High Noon hard seltzers, plus restaurant raffles throughout the day for Legends-branded gift cards and a 55-inch 4K TV.American Social721 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; (954) 764-7005 or AmericanSocialBar.comWatch the game on 15 TV screens. They will also feature $15 beer buckets, $6 smoked chicken wings and $4-$6 shots of select liquors.Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar4040 Galt Ocean Drive # B1-A, Fort Lauderdale (behind Ocean Manor Beach Resort); (954) 566-7500 or BambooBeachTikiBar.comMmeet wide receiver Andre “Bad Moon” Rison (1997-99 with the Chiefs), who will be appearing with NBA legend Dennis Rodman during Bamboo’s all-day watch party. The party will also feature $25 Bud and Bud Light buckets, along with 13 flat screen TVs and two projectors blasting the big game.The Wharf Fort Lauderdale20 W. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; (954) 372-7606 or WharfFTL.comTwo giant screens, and DJs spinning during commercial breaks. RSVP via: Eventbrite.com.Palm Beach:Deck 84840 E. Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach; (561) 665-8484 or Deck84.comThe eatery will serve half-off drinks at the bar and high tops during the game, plus pre-game live music from 2 to 5:30 p.m.Batch Gastropub14813 Lyons Road, Delray Beach; (561) 877-0000 or BatchGastropub.comEnjoy $15 unlimited boneless wings, $4 Bud Light drafts and $5-for-$20 buckets of select domestics.Renegades Country Bar and Grill600 Village Blvd., West Palm BeachAll-you-can-eat-and-drink for $50. Upgrade to call drinks for $65 (not including gratuity). The game will be shown on Renegade’s 50 flat screens and seven giant projectors. RSVP via Eventbrite.com.West Palm Brewery and Wine Vault332 Evernia St., West Palm Beach; (561) 619-8813 or WestPalmBeer.com$10 one-topping Neapolitan-style pizzas (normally $13-$17), $4 pints of dry-hopped blonde ale and $4 12-ounce pours of red saison.The Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill209 6th Street, West Palm Beach; (561) 812-2336 or ButcherShopBeerGarden.comThe Butcher Shop will salute the Chiefs during its 2 p.m. tailgate party, dishing out Kansas City-style smoked ribs and wings, smoked brisket and pulled pork sliders, $5 wells and 5-for-$15 beer buckets. During the watch party, kicking off at 5 p.m., specials will include $5 quarter rack of ribs and $10 smoked wings.850 WFTL reminds you to party responsibly. Enjoy the game!
What a difference one year makes. On Jan. 29, 2015, the USC men’s basketball team took on the Colorado Buffaloes in a three-overtime thriller that unfortunately ended in a loss. Up until the Arizona epic earlier this season, it was the most exciting game I had seen the Trojans play.In that game, current redshirt junior guard Katin Reinhardt was automatic with his feet set from deep, and current junior forward Nikola Jovanovic dominated the post with an array of moves that he has further improved upon this season. The game offered a glimpse of the pace and space style coach Andy Enfield envisioned his Trojan squad. While the team didn’t turn a corner that game, on account of some poor late game decisions and abysmal free throw shooting, they demonstrated the kind of potential that Enfield’s system had in the Pac-12 conference.One year later, and the Trojans have transformed more than even Optimus Prime could have expected. They are right on the periphery of the top 25, and they are a dark horse candidate to make a deep run into the NCAA tournament. Even better, the Trojans are nearly unbeatable on their home court, suffering just their first home loss of the season Sunday to Utah.While all of this is incredible and exciting to watch the birth of a new program under Enfield, one has to look no further than the win against Colorado to comprehend the tremendous progress and growth the team has made.Against Colorado on Wednesday night, the Trojans were down 15 late in the second half. They looked listless and lifeless, sleepwalking through a very crucial game. After years and years of Trojan basketball, I am conditioned to expect the worst. Going 0-2 on the road against the Sun Devils and Wildcats, and then getting blown out on their home court by Colorado didn’t project well for the rest of the season.I imagined the worst: a total collapse, followed by a loss against Utah to mark a four-game skid, and then losses to end the season against the team’s last four opponents. Instead what I saw at the Galen Center Wednesday was resilience and persistence and an acumen in game coaching adjustment by Enfield that may have changed the trajectory of this season and possibly the program.Instead of folding down 15, Enfield switched to a 2-3 zone that stymied the Buffaloes and helped to compensate for the Trojans inferiority on defense. USC used this zone and some stellar guard play from sophomore Jordan McLaughlin and junior Julian Jacobs to go on a 20-5 run and tie the game at 65 apiece.The Trojans had an eerily similar experience against the Buffaloes last season. They were down 61-50 and came back to tie the game 66 all and send it into overtime. This year and in this game, the Trojans demonstrated that they have indeed turned the corner.Unlike last season, in which the Trojans couldn’t contain Colorado guard Askia Booker and McLaughlin struggled down the stretch from the free throw line, this year the roles were reversed. McLaughlin and Jacobs were unstoppable in the final moments, playing frenetic defense and hitting from all over the court.Colorado was the team that couldn’t score, and struggled from the free throw line. Instead of failing to land a knockout punch as the team did last season, and ultimately wilting in the third overtime, USC went for the jugular this season and won in regulation by a score of 79-72. Crisis averted, season intact.USC may not win the conference this year — although they still very well could — but the game against Colorado offered incontrovertible proof that this is a team to fear. USC had shown they can get out to early leads and blow teams out. Now they have shown that they can from behind and finish the job. That is the mark of a well-coached team. They still need to improve their play in close battles, as they have a tendency to get tight, but that comes with experience.No one expected the Trojans to be this good this soon. It has been an utter delight watching them play, and Wednesday was one of the most inspiring games I have seen in the last fourteen years of watching the team. It may not be as significant as Daniel Hackett shutting down Kevin Durant to beat Texas in the NCAA tournament or coming back against James Harden and the Sun Devils to win the then-Pac 10 tournament, but Wednesday’s win was monumental for the Enfield era.The win against Arizona earlier this year proved that USC could beat the big boys. Now it’s clear they deserve to play with them night in and night out. Enfield made a coaching adjustment that won the game, which is improvement from a young, sharp coach who is building a winning program. It’s rare to be this optimistic about USC basketball this late in season, and boy does it feel good. The Trojans are back on the hardwood, and they are a force to be reckoned with.Jake Davidson is a junior majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,” runs Mondays.