Pac-12 Dance Prospects: Two and Who?
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With Arizona going into Utah and clinching a tie for the Pac-12 championship, the Wildcats are now positioned to secure the title outright with one more victory.
They're alredy in the catbird's seat to win the conference tournament a week later in Las Vegas.
Arizona (26-3), and the Utes (22-6) will be high seeds in the NCAA tournament but the rest of the league will have to pin their hopes on coming out on top in Vegas or getting a little bubble luck.
Oregon(21-8, 11-5) is in third place, which is incredible what with all the turmoil coach Dana Altman's had to handle. The Ducks, led by Joe Young and Elgin Cook, have won three in a row, including an upset over Utah last week. They'll be counting on the eventuality that a Power Five conference usually gets 3-4 teams into the Dance by virtue of the conference brand.
Stanford (18-9, 10-6) is right behind Oregon going into today's home game with them. The Cardinal also have Arizona State and Arizona left on the schedule; they could use a statement game prior to the league and NCAA tournaments. Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown have been steady all year, and they'll be vital down the stretch.
UCLA is next in the league, and right now, they need to mop up Washington State today and USC on Wednesday plus have a great league tournament in order to avoid the NIT. The Bruins (17-12, 9-7) cannot be happy that BYU upset Gonzaga last night, as the Cougars are well and truly on the NCAA bubble.
The rest of the league is, without a doubt, on the outside looking in unless they win it all in Las Vegas.
Oregon State (17-11) has a triumph over Arizona but little else on their résumé. Still, Wayne Tinkle will be up for Coach of the Year after being hired late, calling for open tryouts so the Beavers could actually field a team with a bench, and still put together a winning record. Of course, it didn't hurt having The Mitten live up to his DNA code.
Arizona State (15-13) beat the Wildcats, too, but somehow lost to Lehigh early in the season and has been the poster program for inconsistency this season. Fortunately, the same can't be said for their now-legendary Curtain of Distraction:
California has an overall record over .500 at 16-12, but the Bears are on a three-game skid and finish with Oregon State, Arizona, and Arizona State. They've got NIT written all over them.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is this season's victim of the adage no good deed goes unpunished. He gave shot-swatter extraordinaire Robert Upshaw a second chance after drug issues got him booted from Fresno State. For a while it looked good. The Huskies staretd their campaign 11-0, but after an upset loss to Stony Brook, they went on to lose four in a row. Just when it seemed the ship was righted, Upshaw fell off the wagon and took Washington's post-season hopes with him.
Colorado and Washington State are 12-15 with sights already set on next season, while USC sits last in the league at 3-14 and 11-18 overall.
The Trojans and coach Andy Enfield don't have any seniors and expect to improve tremendously next season, Enfield's third after his magical run with Florida Gulf Coast in 2013. A now-apprehensive alumni base is watching with bated breath; if Enfield doesn't produce next year, his seat could get a bit toasty, and it won't be due to the warm California sun.