Chances are the 0-5 hole the Colorado men's basketball team has dug itself into will be too much to overcome in their fading quest to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons.
However, if the Buffaloes still have a season-saving run in them, it will help that the schedule is about to take a more favorable turn.
While Sunday night's loss against No. 25 USC dropped the Buffs to 0-5 in the Pac-12 Conference, it also marked the end of a demanding league-opening stretch on the schedule.
Outside two games against No. 13 Oregon, the Buffs otherwise are done playing the other three top teams in the league in USC, UCLA, and Arizona. And after this week's dates at Washington and Washington State, CU gets to play seven of its final 11 games at home.
"Stay positive. Understand what are we doing well, and what are the things we have to shore up," head coach Tad Boyle said. "That's the bottom line. We have to stay positive. This team does not need to be brow-beaten right now. They don't need to be screamed and yelled at.
"They need to understand — and I think we've got guys that do — going from practice or the locker room to the game floor, we have to get it done. And right now we're not getting it done."
Certainly the Washington trip will be difficult for a Buffs team that has lost eight consecutive conference road games. However, Boyle still believes that first league win can quickly turn things around.
"It's about the next game, the next opportunity," Boyle said. "I'm not going to change my tune midway. We've got guys that have won before, that understand what it takes to win. We're just not getting it done right now."
One encouraging note for the struggling Buffs has been the rekindled shooting touch of George King.
Last year's league leader in 3-point percentage had struggled from long range for much of the season, bottoming out at .273 after going 0-for-6 on Jan. 5 at Arizona State. Yet after going 4-for-8 on 3-pointers against USC, King has now knocked down 8-of-15 3-pointers over the last three games. He has connected on multiple 3-pointers in three consecutive games after doing so three times in the first 15 games.
The Buffs' 17 turnovers marked their second-highest total of the season, trailing only the 19 they committed against Seattle in the second game of the season. CU has averaged 14 turnovers in its five Pac-12 games...Guards Dom Collier and Derrick White combined to post eight assists with only two turnovers. The rest of CU's team compiled six assists with 15 turnovers...CU's only true post player in the starting lineup, Wesley Gordon, played 25 minutes with only one field goal attempt, and it was a 3-pointer...Josh Fortune made his first 3-point attempt, ending an 0-for-9 mark from long range in league play...With 15 points, Xavier Johnson moved into 19th-place on CU's all-time scoring list.