USC is trying to build a national basketball brand under Andy Enfield. The Trojans made it to the Elite Eight in 2021 and are looking to build on that achievement for sustained national staying power.
Obviously, winning games and doing NCAA Tournaments will build and maintain a brand and identity, but what also helps a show is having great matchups on the biggest stage when the most people will be watching. With that point in mind, the 2022-2023 Pac-12 basketball schedule, released Thursday, is a mixed bag for the Trojans.
The good news: the Trojans should be off to a good start in the league. Cal, Oregon State and Washington schools represent the top four conference opponents from USC. The December-January portion of the schedule makes it easy for USC to get into the flow of the Pac-12 season.
The bad news: USC plays UCLA on January 5 and 26. The Trojans and Bruins have a racy rivalry in Los Angeles. Playing one of the games near the end of the season is good for publicity and building interest in the Trojans basketball brand. Playing twice at UCLA in January defeats that goal. The Jan. 5 game at Pauley Pavilion is absurdly early for a USC-UCLA game at a time when both programs are relevant and competitive.
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The story originally appeared on Trojans Wire