Maybe Andy Enfield's motives were a little more introverted. Maybe he simply wanted to light a fire in the USC Trojans.
After the Trojans were stunned on a last-second buzzer-beater from half court by Stanford's Daejon Davis on Jan. 7, it looked as if 2017-18 just wasn't going to be their year. The preseason arrest of assistant Tony Bland in the ongoing FBI corruption investigation was followed by an uneven first half of the season that saw the Trojans fall from the nation's No. 10 team in the preseason to an 11-6 mark (2-2 Pac-12) following Davis' heave.
Before their next game against the Colorado Buffaloes, Enfield read a prepared statement to reporters regarding the comments Colorado coach Tad Boyle had made after beating Arizona the previous weekend while answering a question if there was extra satisfaction in defeating one of the two Pac-12 programs embroiled in the FBI investigation.
Despite no direct disparaging of the USC program by Boyle, among Enfield's thoughts was that "those comments are unfair to those of us involved in the USC men's basketball program, most importantly to our student-athletes."
Whether intentional or not, the Trojans have looked more like the preseason No. 10 team since Enfield made his rallying cry. USC went out and soundly defeated the Buffs before running Utah out of the gym four days later. The Trojans went on the road this past weekend and posted an impressive sweep at Oregon and Oregon State.
USC has a chance to gain separation behind league-leading Arizona in one of the Pac-12's top matchups this week as the Trojans host Stanford on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, across town, UCLA has gone a different direction since encountering the Buffs in Los Angeles, and the hot seat coach Steve Alford managed to keep cool a year ago may be warming up again. The Bruins followed their home loss against CU by losing both games in Oregon, and the road doesn't get any easier for UCLA after a Thursday game against Cal. The Bruins' next four games are against Stanford, USC, Arizona, and Arizona State.
Unlike the Buffs, Utah was able to complete the home sweep of the Washington schools this past weekend. After leading the way with a pair of double-doubles, the Utes' Justin Bibbins was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week.
A graduate transfer from Long Beach State, Bibbins rode different paths to his back-to-back double-doubles. In a win against Washington, Bibbins scored 20 points with 10 rebounds. Against Washington State, Bibbins recorded 13 points with 12 assists. Bibbins went 11-for-22 from the field and 5-for-5 at the free throw line in the two games.
After sweeping through northern California, Arizona jumped from No. 14 to No. 11 in the latest AP top 25. ASU, which lost at Stanford, dropped from No. 16 to No. 21. Once again, those two teams were the only Pac-12 programs to receive votes...CU begins the week with an RPI of 59. That mark is fifth among Pac-12 schools, trailing Arizona (16), Arizona State (31), USC (39), and Washington (52).