The Men’s Basketball Pac-12 race could look a whole lot different by Sunday.
This year has been a little bit of a roller-coaster in the Pac-12 with about four different teams being declared the pre-season favorites. Followed by a stellar run by Oregon State and Stanford in non-conference to show they should have also been considered a favorite.
There could easily be a different Pac-12 leader each week for the rest of the season. The race is wide open and no team really has a sure shot at taking it or keeping it. Each game counts and each game is important for almost every team in the Pac-12.
Washington currently holds the top spot in the conference at 9-2 in the Pac-12 and 16-7 overall. However, there are two teams only one game back; California and Colorado. There are two teams only two games back; Oregon and Arizona. Finally, there are two teams only three games back; Stanford and UCLA.
This means there is a realistic shot for seven teams in the Pac-12 to take control and win the conference. UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, California, and Washington all are within reach of the Pac-12 crown. One could even argue for Oregon State as they are only four games back, and then WSU which is only 5 games back. This race is only just beginning and the journey to the finish could be a little wild. Every game matters, anyone of those nine teams could be an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament if the rest of the season works in their favor. And teams like Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon are already considered bubble teams while UW and Cal are projected as in the field.
This means that tonight’s game for The Huskies is important. This means that tonight’s game for The Ducks is just as important. It is two teams that have a shot at the NCAA tournament and both teams need this win. Sure, neither team will be eliminated from the discussion if they lose but this is a big help or hurt game. Where the winning team really helped their resume and the losing team weakened theirs.
The rivalry helps as both teams will use that as momentum coming into this game. But the game itself can be a momentum shifter. The Huskies are coming into tonight’s game with five straight wins and 13 of the last 15. While the Ducks are coming fresh off a loss to Colorado and hoping to right their ship with Washington in town.
Oregon will have the home-court advantage and Washington has struggled on that court in the last two years. But Washington will have the more talented team with a win-streak and some momentum coming into this game. This game is a Pac-12 rivalry at its best, a game that could come down to that final shot.
It airs tonight on Root Sports at 8pm PT. Be sure to tune in to this one. You can also read Jeff Taylor’s Game Preview here.