The announcement Saturday afternoon requesting we stand for the national anthem echoed off the hardwood and floor and bounced off the walls of beautiful and half-empty Jenny Craig Pavilion.

It had been so quiet in the little arena atop the hill, I thought the announcer was making a mistake, that it couldn’t possibly be 15 minutes before tip-off.

Perhaps University of San Diego President Mary Lyons and Athletic Director Ky Snyder knew something I didn’t when they went against my advice a year ago and kept Bill Grier for a seventh season.

Maybe they knew this: No one cares about USD basketball.

That’s not what Snyder explained at the time, however. He said this: “I’m confident we can be a postseason team next year.”

Whether his confidence is rewarded may depend on Snyder’s definition of postseason.

The Toreros are 16-15 after punctuating their regular season on Saturday with a 78-70 loss to Brigham Young.

One more victory in either the West Coast Conference Tournament or one of the minor postseason tourneys it could possibly get into, and USD could have its first winning season since 2007-08.

You can’t argue with Grier when he says finishing above .500 “would be something to build on.” Nor can junior point guard Christopher Anderson be slammed for saying that getting to one of the tournaments very few people have ever heard of would be “huge for our program.”

All they could do was try to get better. And they have.

But is it better enough? And would it matter if it were?

I’ll admit I’m confused about where this program should go and can go.

The Toreros had their chance, perhaps, to woo us and their on-campus constituents after that NCAA appearance and first-round victory over Connecticut in ’08. Instead, they slid into a period of scandal and player turnover.

It’s actually impressive they’ve emerged so quickly.

“These guys have made a lot of progress the last two years coming off all the things we’ve had to go through,” Grier said. “They’ve been a really resilient group.”

It’s evident in how they play.

BYU has a good shot at making the NCAA Tournament, and USD was down two with 2:02 to play Saturday. The Toreros played New Mexico close on the road, came within a missed jumper at the buzzer from beating San Diego State and last Saturday beat Gonzaga.

This is a decent team, an overachieving team. Give Grier credit for that. Problem is, he can’t coach the guys he can’t recruit.

Anderson and Johnny Dee, both juniors, maximize their talent and then borrow a bit from elsewhere. But they’re small and get banged around, and they don’t have enough help.

The lack of depth has shown up in USD’s four conference losses that have come by four points or less, as well as in games like Saturday where it expended almost every ounce of energy just to fight back to even from a 16-point deficit.

It was, at least, nice to see the crowd into it once USD made its second-half run Saturday.