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This Week in Colorado Basketball: UCLA & USC

Colorado starts conference play with matchups against the L.A. schools.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Conference play is finally here! Not only are we done with the disappointment of non-conference play, but it will actually provide opportunity for Colorado to make up for all the lethargic efforts that has cost them a realistic shot at the NCAA Tournament.I swear I heard Ski shout "NIT here we come!" as he took an ill-fated buzzer beater against George Washington. Nonetheless, that bitter defeat and the following loss to Hawai`i could be more than made up for with the upcoming schedule.

If Colorado wins every single home game left on their schedule, they're only at sixteen wins. Adding three wins in what should be considered manageable road wins -- and by no means would these be easy wins -- against the follied foursome of USC, Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon, the Buffs have twenty wins going into the conference tournament, likely putting them in second place in the conference standings. Win a game or two in the conference tournament and you're suddenly looking at a team with a very strong case of getting into March Madness, especially when you recall four of their five non-conference losses were by seven points or less and that three were one-possession games. The case grows when you see a late run of victories, as Colorado's schedule appears to be much easier towards the back with road trips to Oregon and Washington, where three of the noted four aforementioned manageable road victories lay. I'm not saying this scenario is as likely as it is possible, I merely exploring the possibility of a fourth consecutive appearance in the Big Dance.

The long road to rebuilding the resume starts with a home game against the UCLA Bruins, followed shortly by a bout with the USC Trojans. I'll help you find reasons to hate both teams -- if you don't already -- to ensure a passionate viewing of the upcoming Colorado games.

Reasons to hate UCLA

  • The Bruins still smell like Shabazz, even though it's been a year and half since he left school. It smells like Gucci leather.

  • Eww the Wear twins.

  • Rich Neuheisel was UCLA's football coach for a few years.

  • Speaking of football, Brett Hundley has gone absolutely bonkers against Colorado in the past three years.

  • Colorado hasn't beat UCLA in basketball (or football either, for that matter) since joining the Pac-12, including a nail-biting 78-75 decision in which Kyle Anderson did Kyle Anderson things.

  • In last year's matchup in L.A., Askia Booker showed us all what's he capable of as a pass-first point guard, dishing out twelve assists with only two turnovers. This is a reason to hate UCLA because they helped get our hopes up for life AD (After Dinwiddie).

  • Bryce Alford, the Pac-12's answer to Brady Heslip, is responsible for all annoying three-pointers off the bench and lives to reinforce the white basketball player stereotype. Did I mention his dad is the head coach? Did I mention he has no emotions even when drop-kicking a basketball into the hoop from eighty feet away?

Reasons to hate USC

  • In 2011, Matt Barkley set USC's single-game record for passing touchdowns in an ESPN-aired Thursday night game.

  • In 2014, Cody Kessler broke Barkley's record against Colorado.

  • You can't spell "Cornhuskers" without USC.

  • You could make a half-decent NBA team with USC alum with O.J. Mayo at the point (edit: O.J. at PG lol), Nick Young at shooting guard, DeMar DeRozan at the three, Taj Gibson at power forward and Nikola Vucevic at center. This is despite prolonged futility on the court.

  • Lane Kiffin

  • Trojans killed Achilles during the Trojan War.

  • USC has a better record (8-4) than CU this year, despite getting blown out by Akron, losing at home to Portland State (hey Julius Thomas), and literally losing to Army. Those three teams are averaged out at a 195th KenPom ranking.

  • Their best win on the season was against Boston College, yet their record is still better than CU's.