Colorado men’s basketball hopes a final push begins in rematch against USC – The Denver Post

The problems that have kept the Colorado men’s basketball team hovering around .500 for much of the season probably can’t be fully encapsulated by looking back at any one game.

Yet a review of the Buffaloes’ loss at USC on Jan. 12 might come close.

Still seeking an elusive hot streak, the Buffs host USC on Thursday night to start a season-closing three-game homestand. There are bigger stakes at play for the Trojans, who are attempting to cement their NCAA Tournament credentials while securing a place in the top four of the Pac-12 Conference. But the Buffs hope to begin a run, too.

“That was the epitome of empty possessions,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said of his team’s loss at USC last month. “I’ve been watching the film. I have no idea how the game was even close in L.A. USC, they’ve got a lot on the line. And for us, I think this team can get hot down the stretch and make some noise. So this game may not mean a lot in the standings from our standpoint, but it does for theirs. We’re fighting for pride and to get hot and see what can happen down the stretch.”

CU suffered a 68-61 loss at USC and committed a season-high 22 turnovers.

“We have to make it happen,” Boyle said. “Nothing is going to be given to you at this time of year. Really, at no time of the year. You’ve got to be ready to seize the opportunity when it’s there, and what’s better than three home games to finish the year? You’d better take advantage of when the schedule does favor you.”

The Buffs still have an opportunity to play their way into a favorable first-round seeding at the Pac-12 tournament, or even an NIT berth. However, it will require the sort of consistent run that CU, despite a number of impressive early-season wins that includes toppling then-No. 11 Tennessee in Nashville, simply has been unable to attain.

CU has won more than two games in a row just once this season, putting together a five-game winning streak in December compiled mostly against mid-major foes at home. CU has won nine of its past 10 home games, too.

“That’s something we’ve talked about — we’re capable of beating any team in our league,” CU wing Nique Clifford said. “We’ve got to go out and do it. And we haven’t proven that all year, but we know that we are capable when we are at our best, defending and rebounding at a high level. And when shots are falling, that certainly helps. But we’ve got to keep focusing on defense and rebounding.”


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