It’s been a shaky start to Colorado’s Pac-12 basketball schedule. They had the controversial OT loss at Arizona and then they suffered a tough loss to a much-improved, but rather unproven, Arizona State squad.
In the Arizona game, Colorado played one of their better games of the season but let a 16 point, second-half lead slip away and found themselves at the mercy of a missed call on a game-winning shot. The Arizona State loss was similar to their previous game as they jumped out to a quick double-digit lead only to let that slip away as well. The Buffaloes got cold from the field and their bench was practically non-existent, only contributing four points in the 65-56 loss.
The Buffaloes need to bounce back and there’s probably no other team in the conference that is better to do that against than the Trojans. USC is just 6-9 on the season and just 1-1 in the Pac-12. They had a brutal non-conference schedule with games against San Diego State, New Mexico, Minnesota and Marquette. A schedule that was supposed to test the Trojans may have discouraged them instead. However, they did have a nice win over Stanford to start Pac-12 play and they almost upset Cal so the Trojans should not be taken lightly.
As for Colorado this game might be a little too early in the conference schedule to call a must-win but I’m going to do it anyways. The Buffaloes need to handle USC to regain some confidence and some much needed momentum heading into their big game Saturday afternoon against a revitalized UCLA team. If Colorado is unable to beat USC then they would be 0-3 going into their game with the Bruins and that’s something they simply cannot afford.
For Colorado to beat USC tonight they will have to get back to what they do best and that’s play defense and rebound the basketball. Colorado already has the advantage on the boards, averaging practically seven more rebounds per game than the Trojans, so expect the Buffs to win that battle pretty handily. USC also has a tough time scoring, averaging only 63 points per game and that falls right into the hands of Colorado, especially at home where they are undefeated on the year.
Look for Colorado to feed off the home crowd early and jump out to another one of their quick leads. However, this time expect the Buffs to hold onto it and cruise to a an easy victory.
Prediction: Colorado 83 USC 67
David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page