The once prominent cardinal and gold banner of the USC men's basketball team has now been engulfed by the flames of incessant disappointment and are now replaced with scraps of charred maroon and scorched copper.
This might seem a bit hyperbolized, but the Trojans (19-10, 8-8) have lost the last five of six games and are on the brink of total collapse pending their performance in the penultimate game of the season against Oregon State (17-10, 8-8), Wednesday, Mar. 2.
Fighting off a three-game losing streak, USC is in a state of disarray as they've lost by an average of 17 points over the course of their late season slump.
Capping off the season at home against both teams of the Pacific Northwest, the Trojans are facing a tall task with the Beavers winning their last five of seven games and #9 Oregon being the top team in the Pac-12.
Following their 69-49 trouncing of Washington State, the Beavers are on the rise and are now poised to claim the sixth spot in the Pac-12 with a win over USC and a Stanford loss to Arizona State on Thursday night.
The issues that have plagued the Trojans all season are becoming much larger towards the end season and are extinguishing any momentum heading into the Pac-12 tournament.
USC has been statistically strong all season long as they are still the second-highest scoring team in the Pac-12, yet have allowed the fourth-most points in the conference.
Junior guard Julian Jacobs' play over the course of the season has given the Trojans one of the more reliable backcourts in NCAA as he's averaged 12.8 points while shooting .465 percent from the floor and .431 percent from the three-point line.
The team's reliance on offensive efficiency has been overshadowed by their inability to successfully defend on a regular basis manifests close games into eventual blowout losses.
The Trojans will look to resuscitate their yearlong efforts against the Beavers and head into their pivotal matchup against the juggernauts of the Pac-12 with a newfound confidence.
You can watch the game tonight at 8pm on FS1