Pac-12 title race: USC basketball still controls their destiny after Colorado loss

USC basketball forward Evan Mobley.
USC basketball forward Evan Mobley. / John McCoy/Getty Images

USC basketball fell behind in the Pac-12 title race by losing to Colorado on Thursday night. What will it take to get back to the top?

The Trojans are now a half game back of UCLA, who took over first place with their win over Utah.

Here's the good news: USC controls their own destiny.

USC basketball will win the Pac-12 if...

...The Trojans beat Utah, Stanford and UCLA.

That's the simplest route, one that would put all the marbles on the line when the Los Angeles rivals meet on Mar. 6.

Falling to Colorado was a setback, but the task remains the same. Win out and the title is USC's.

Neither Utah nor Stanford will be favored. It would take an upset for them to knock off the Trojans. However, beating UCLA at Pauley Pavilion will be no easy task. The Bruins have yet to lose there this season.

...The Trojans go 2-1 to end the season, but the Bruins go 1-2.

If USC loses another game between now and the season's end, they will need UCLA to lose two. One of those could be against the Trojans themselves.

The Bruins do face a tough closing slate. They take on Colorado in Boulder on Saturday. The Buffaloes are 9-1 on their home floor this season. Then they have a meeting with Oregon in Eugene next Wednesday. The Ducks are 9-2 at home.

UPDATE: Win percentages will also come into play with Oregon. The Ducks need to lose at least one.

...The Trojans go 1-2 to end the season, but the Bruins go 0-3, the Ducks lose at least one of their last four and the Buffaloes lose to ASU after beating UCLA.

An anxiety-inducing, worst-case scenario exists for the Trojans if they drop two of their last three games. It could happen, but no one wants to see it go down like this.

So there you have it. USC basketball knows what they have to do to win their first regular-season conference crown since 1985.

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