1. Arizona (22-4, 10-4): The Wildcats are back on top of the standings and rankings. They have two winnable games at home and a trip to Los Angeles to finish their season. If Arizona hits 13 wins in conference, it should be enough to win the Pac-12 this year. The Wildcats NCAA seeding though will be more impacted on how they do in Las Vegas in the Pac-12 tournament. Arizona can be anywhere from a 2-4 seed.
2. California (17-9, 9-5): The Golden Bears were in the news this past week for their play and the shove by Coach Mike Montgomery on Allen Crabbe. No team is hotter than Cal who has won 6 of 7 including wins over Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon twice. Its foreseeable the Golden Bears win out and finish 13-5 to share or win the Pac 12. Even with the late winning streak, Cal is projected as one of the last teams in the NCAA tournament so they need every win they can get.
3. Oregon (21-6, 10-4): The Ducks lost to Cal Thursday night on a buzzer beater which makes them 4-4 without Dominic Artis. However, they seemed to right the ship without their point guard, playing better of late. Oregon can’t and won’t take Stanford lightly this weekend. The Cardinals handed Oregon its worse loss of the season on January 30th. The Ducks remaining schedule is easier than Arizona but a slipup seems more likely to happen in Eugene.
4. Colorado (18-8, 8-6): An overtime loss to Arizona State is the only loss Colorado has suffered in the past 5 games. The Buffaloes are playing well at the right time and will need to continue the hot play with difficult games upcoming. (@ Stanford, @ Cal & vs. Oregon). Colorado doesn’t play until Wednesday so hopefully they can get to full strength after Josh Scott’s concussion.
5. UCLA (19-7, 9-4): 2 weeks ago, I predicted to win 2 games and then get blown out in their 3rd and that is exactly what happened. The Bruins are maddeningly inconsistent because they have the talent to go to Atlanta for the Final Four but then have showing like the first half against Cal. Sunday the rivalry continues with USC and the Bruins are seeking revenge after the Trojans came into Westwood and stole one.
6. Arizona State (20-7, 9-5): The Sun Devils bounced back with wins at Colorado and home against Washington State, The remaining schedule for Arizona State is rough. They are projected as a 12 seed now and might slip right off the bubble with trips to UCLA, USC & Arizona to close out the regular season.
7. USC (12-14, 7-6): The Trojans horrific start has them with a 0% chance to get an at-large bid but is it too farfetched to think USC can win the Pac-12 tournament? USC has their showdown against UCLA this weekend at the Galen Center. Since Bob Cantu took over, the Trojans have been in every game with the lone exception being Arizona who they host Wednesday. Expect the Trojans to have a better showing against the Wildcats and maybe pull of the upset.
8. Stanford (16-11, 7-7): Don’t eliminate Stanford from the NCAA Tournament yet. Stanford can still get quality wins over Oregon, Colorado and Cal plus the Pac-12 tournament. There is also a chance that next week’s rankings will say put a fork in Stanford because they are “officially” done. Johnny Dawkins’ team CAN make a late push but the question is WILL THEY?
9. Washington (14-13, 6-8): The Huskies have been awful and disappointing. They were the regular season champs last year and the wheels feel off this year starting January 19th. The Huskies have lost 8 of 10 and the last three losses were double digit defeats. Remember the good ole days with Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson???
10. Utah (11-15, 3-11): Utah might only have 3 wins in conference but they aren’t just walking over. They are playing with heart and being competitive. They gave Arizona a good game and only lost by 4. The Utes have two quality wins over potential NCAA teams Colorado and Arizona State.
11. Oregon State (13-14, 3-11): The Beavers lost by double digits, their last two games but still haven’t lost a game all season by more than 13 points. Oregon State has their final home game of the season Saturday against Cal before finishing on the road for their last three games.
12. Washington State (11-16, 2-12): The Cougars have lost 7 straight games and a win doesn’t appear in the near future either. The Cougars finish @Arizona, @Washington, vs. UCLA, vs. USC and with a first round exit in the Pac-12 tournament could finish the season with 12 straight defeats.
Game of the weekend: UCLA @ USC
Upset Alert: Stanford over Oregon
Player of the Week: Allen Crabbe (California) AGAIN
Biggest Climb: California +3
Biggest Fall: Oregon & Colorado -2