The Trojans had their shot at their first regular-season championship since 1985 and their first outright title since before that. However, Oregon beat Oregon State on Sunday evening to claim the crown themselves.
In the end, losses to Colorado and, particularly, Utah on a road trip to the Mountain schools scuppered USC's dreams more than the result in Corvallis.
USC basketball still has tons to play for in 2021
Where does this leave USC? The Trojans still finished second in the conference, tied for their best finish under Andy Enfield. It's only their third second-place finish this century. The accomplishment in that is obvious.
It would have been fitting for Saturday's huge moment beating UCLA on a last-second three-pointer to have made the difference. It would have been awesome to celebrate a championship. It's a bummer, but by no means something that should get the Trojans down.
There are bigger fish to fry now.
On Thursday, the Trojans will head to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament, where they will have another shot at bringing home a trophy. If they approach it right, they could face Oregon in the final and win the title on the court head-to-head. That would be the ultimate consolation.
Then eyes will turn to the NCAA Tournament. USC is poised to claim one of its best seeds in over a decade. With talents like Evan and Isaiah Mobley running the show, a deep tournament is well within reach. They already know Tahj Eaddy can hit the big shot in the clutch.
USC basketball needs to live by the "So what, now what?" mantra. Responding to the disappointment can bring even greater glory down the line.