After a wild finish to the regular season, the Pac-12 schedule has concluded and the conference race has been settled.
While a new team has claimed the regular season crown, the Pac-12 Tournament is going to be very compelling due to how close the top of the standings ended.
Several teams, including the squad that finished in first place, stumbled during the last week of play. It not only gave the teams at the bottom of the standings more confidence about potentially knocking off one of the top contenders, but it also makes the conference tournament a little more difficult to predict. With the regular season in the books, here is how the teams rank.
The Bruins were able to come away with the title despite losing a game to lowly Washington State last week. Thankfully for UCLA, the other contenders suffered from their own shortcomings in the final games and allowed the Bruins to come away with the Pac-12 regular season championship.
With players like Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams, and Larry Drew leading the way, UCLA is going to be a ridiculously tough team to defeat in the conference tournament. However, the Bruins have had lapses of poor play that have caused them to drop games to teams they probably shouldn’t have lost to. If they can keep their eyes on the prize, they are going to be a very tough out in the postseason.
There wasn’t a hotter squad down the stretch than the Golden Bears, but a loss at home to Stanford cost Cal a share of the conference championship. Going into the tournament, however, the Bears are a squad no one (except for Stanford, perhaps) wants to play.
Allen Crabbe has been the best player in the Pac-12 since the beginning of February and Mike Montgomery is one of the best in-game coaches in the conference, if not the nation.
Saturday’s victory over ASU was the best game the Wildcats played in weeks. While the Sun Devils came in struggling, things can be unpredictable in a rivalry game. UA was able to dominate from start to finish, however, and looks like a team that could play for the title in Las Vegas.
For Arizona, it’s all about which squad shows up. If it’s the one that played this past weekend, the Wildcats can beat anyone in the conference. The problem is that when that version doesn’t surface, the Wildcats turn into a very beatable team that plays stagnantly on both ends of the court.
The conference title fell through their hands when the Ducks lost big to lowly Utah and Colorado over the weekend. Oregon had everything going for them heading into the final week of play, but completely crumbled when it mattered most.
The timing of the two losses causes the Ducks ability to win the conference tournament to come into question. Oregon certainly possesses enough talent, but is clearly not the squad it was earlier in the conference schedule.
This was a year that the Buffaloes were supposed to contend for the top of the standings, but the way they began conference play took them out of contention early. CU attempted to make a run late in the campaign, but it wasn’t enough and it struggled in spurts throughout the campaign.
The Buffaloes are still a very dangerous squad, however, and must not be taken lightly. Spencer Dinwiddie has reached double figures in 13 of his last 15 games while Andre Roberson has been a walking double-double for the majority of the season. If both players are at their peak, the Buffaloes are going to be dangerous in the Pac-12 Tournament.
If the Cardinal could play the Golden Bears every game they probably would. Their victory over California completed a season-sweep of their rival, ended the Bears' seven-game winning streak, and ruined their chances at a share of the Pac-12 title.
As for whether or not Stanford can upset someone else in the tournament is to be determined. Stanford defeated Cal twice and Oregon once, so it proven to be capable of pulling off an upset over a Pac-12 contender.
The Huskies were on a roller coaster ride during the entirety of the conference slate and they finished with a loss at home to Pac-12 regular season champion UCLA. Prior to the defeat, UW had won four out of its last five and looked to be gaining a little momentum going into the postseason.
Can Washington make an unlikely run and obtain an automatic bid to the big dance? Highly unlikely, but no one should overlook the Huskies. With C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs able to put up solid scoring numbers, they have a chance to play spoiler in Las Vegas.
The Trojans were swept at the Washington schools to end the season after winning six of their previous eight contests. The Trojans lack star power, but can play solid team ball and are more than capable of pulling off an upset over a superior squad.
Their chances of doing so diminished significantly, however, when starting center DeWayne Dedmon and backup James Blasczyk were suspended indefinitely for their involvement in a melee.
9. Arizona State
The Sun Devils sputtered over the second half of the Pac-12 schedule. Their loss to the Wildcats was their fourth in a row and sixth in their last eight games and it also sent them to a .500 record in conference play for the first time all season.
ASU has three very talented players (Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski) at key positions, but they haven’t played well together over the last few weeks and their chances in the postseason diminish without each of them contributing in each affair.
The Utes' sweep of the Oregon schools allowed them to end the regular season on a high note. After hanging in games with better teams all year long, Utah finally came out on top over a contender in the Ducks.
Utah is unlikely to make a run in the conference tourney, but pulling out two victories to end the Pac-12 campaign could be something to build off of.
11. Washington State
Wazzu came away with an unlikely sweep of the Los Angeles schools and were able to leap out of the final spot in the rankings because of it. It’s been a rough season for the Cougars, but sweeping their final two is a good way to end the campaign.
12. Oregon State
The Beavers snapped a five game losing streak by winning at Colorado over the weekend. It isn’t enough, however, to keep them out of last place as the other two squads battling for the basement both beat better squads last week. It’s been a rough season for Oregon State, who is likely out within a game or two of the conference tournament.