TODAY: The Colorado Buffaloes (21-10, 10-8 Pac-12) face the Southern Cal Trojans (11-20, 2-16) in a 3:30 p.m. game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
BROADCAST: Radio -- KOA (850 AM), with Mark Johnson on play-by-play and Scott Wilke providing color commentary. TV - Pac-12 Network, with Kevin Calabro and Ernie Kent on the call.
STORYLINES: This is the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. CU is the No. 5 seed and USC is the No. 12 seed. ... The Buffs are 2-0 in the first round since joining the Pac-12 two seasons ago. ... CU won the 2012 conference tournament, doing so as the No. 6 seed. ... The No. 12 seed is 0-2 in the two-year history of this event. ... CU is 7-2 in conference tournament games under head coach Tad Boyle, and the Buffs have reached at least the second round in all three seasons. ... The Buffs are 2-0 against USC this season, defeating the Trojans 83-62 in Boulder on Jan. 18 and 83-74 in Los Angeles on Feb. 16. ... CU's Josh Scott averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds against USC this season, while Askia Booker averaged 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists against them. ... J.T. Terrell averaged 15.0 points against the Buffs this season. ... CU played at the MGM Garden Arena on Dec. 21, losing to then-No. 7 Oklahoma State, 78-73.
KEY STAT: CU opponents made 36.6 percent of their shots from 3-point range - the 11th-worst percentage in the conference. However, USC, which ranked last in the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting, made just 22.6 percent (7-of-31) of its 3s against the Buffs. CU hopes to keep that number down again this time.
COACHES: Tad Boyle is 90-48 in his fourth season at CU and 146-114 for his career. Andy Enfield is 11-20 in his first season at USC and 52-48 for his career.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Xavier Talton, 6-2, So. (4.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.7 apg); G Askia Booker, 6-2, Jr. (13.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 apg); F Wesley Gordon, 6-9, Fr. (6.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg); F Xavier Johnson, 6-7, So. (12.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg); F Josh Scott, 6-10, So. (14.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.2 bpg). Southern California - G Pe'Shon Howard, 6-3, Sr. (10.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.9 apg); G J.T. Terrell, 6-3, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg); G Byron Wesley, 6-5, Jr. (17.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg); F Nikola Jovanovic, 6-10, Fr. (8.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg); C Omar Oraby, 7-2, Sr. (8.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
SERIES: CU leads the series 6-3, including 4-0 since joining the Pac-12.
UP NEXT: With a win, CU would play Cal in the quarterfinals on Thursday. With a loss, the Buffs would wait for a postseason bid.
LAS VEGAS —- It wasn't that long ago that the Colorado men's basketball team made its magical run to the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament championship.
It's been long enough, however, that very few players on the current roster were a part of that run.
"(Junior guard Askia Booker) knows what it takes," sophomore Josh Scott said. "The rest of us don't, plain and simple.
"He knows, he was on that team, so there's a certain level of experience that he has that none of us can bring to the table. He knows what needs to get done. If we're going to make a run, he's pretty important to that."
The fifth-seeded Buffaloes (21-10, 10-8 Pac-12) will begin their quest for another tournament championship on Wednesday when they face No. 12 Southern Cal (11-20, 2-16). Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the MGM Garden Arena.
"We know what that feeling (of winning) is like from a few years ago, and we know what it's like to leave relatively early like we did last year," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "You just want to survive every day and live to see another one."
The 2012 squad, which was seeded sixth, learned how to survive the grueling schedule of four games in four days and lessons learned that season could help the current Buffs.
There are actually three current Buffs who were a part of that team in 2012, but Booker is the only one who plays significant minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie started all 36 games that season, but he, of course, is out for the year with a knee injury.
Senior center Ben Mills was on that team, too. While he only sees limited minutes on the court, he is another experienced voice in the locker room.
"We just have to remind (the younger players) that it's a brand new season almost," Mills said. "The regular season is over, so we call this is a new season. Every team is going to bring their best shot going into the Pac-12 Tournament. Everyone has got a good chance of winning it, so we just have to let them know that every game is just huge. We just have to keep reminding them of that."
CU went 2-0 against Southern Cal this season, but the Buffs aren't taking anything for granted this time around. The Trojans did upset Cal, which wound up seeded fourth, and they feature a dynamic player in Byron Wesley.
While the Buffs will concern themselves with USC, their main objective is to stay consistent with their own game. Inconsistency has plagued the Buffs since Dinwiddie injured his knee on Jan. 12. They are 7-7 in the 14 games played without their star.
"We can be (consistent), absolutely, but it's a matter of going out and doing it," Boyle said. "The thing we have to realize is No. 1, it doesn't have to be a bad game, it can be a bad stretch of a game. This time of the year, you have a bad two or three-minute stretch of a game, it could cost you a game and you're done; you're coming home.
"There has to be a heightened sense of urgency."
Despite CU's inconsistent play in the second half of the season, Scott said he's pleased with where the Buffs are as they enter the postseason.
"It's been pretty much what I thought," he said of the post-Dinwiddie schedule. "I'm not going to try to play around say I didn't think it was going to be a struggle. It's been a struggle and it's been obvious.
"I will say I'm proud of every one of us, just because not a lot of teams would come back or even succeed with the adversity we faced."
In addition to losing Dinwiddie, the Buffs lost freshman Tre'Shaun Fletcher to a knee injury on Jan. 12, and starter Wesley Gordon missed a pair of games — and played sparingly in three others — after twisting an ankle.
"Not a lot of teams can handle that, and we did," Scott said. "I think that says a lot about all of us."
It helps that CU comes into the tournament with some momentum. Although the Buffs lost their last game, 66-65 in overtime at California on Saturday, they played very well in both games of their trip to the Bay Area last week.
"The fact that we played well on this Cal trip I think shows people where we are right now as a team," Scott said.
If the Buffs play this week like they did last week, they just might have the goods to duplicate the run they made two years ago.
"'Guys, we can do it, it's been done before,'" Boyle said of what he told his team. "We talk about living to see another day. When we left Boulder two years ago when we made that run, we were going there to try to win our first game and we did and it just kind of took off from there. That's our approach."