There’s still a lot to be decided in the final five days of the Pac-12 men’s basketball regular season.
At the top of the standings, UCLA plays both Oregon and USC this week. The Ducks go to Corvallis after hosting the Bruins, and the Trojans are at home against Stanford before going to UCLA.
With the cancellation of Monday’s Washington State at Arizona State game, the Cougars will finish as the ninth seed (10th place).
Washington is locked into the 10th seed (11th place) and California the 11th seed (12th place). Both have completed their regular seasons, along with WSU and Arizona.
Every other seed, one through nine, is still up for grabs.
If Oregon State wins one of its two remaining games, Stanford loses to USC and Arizona State goes no better than 1-1 this week, the Beavers can claim the fifth seed and a first-round bye in next week’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas … depending on who wins the regular-season title.
Here are my final weekly power rankings of the season.
1. OREGON 17-5, 12-4 (2)
Last week: 71-68 win at Stanford; 74-63 win at California; 80-69 home win vs. Arizona
This week: Home vs. UCLA, Wednesday; at Oregon State, Sunday
Not a surprise, but Dana Altman’s team is playing its best heading toward the end of the season. The Ducks can claim a second straight regular-season title by winning the next two.
2. UCLA 17-6, 13-4 Pac-12 (Last week: 3)
Last week: 76-61 win at Utah; 70-61 loss at Colorado
This week: At Oregon, Wednesday; home vs. USC, Saturday
Every time the Bruins start rolling, someone jumps up and bites them. They’re undefeated at home and 5-4 away from Pauley in conference games. To say UCLA’s schedule is back-loaded is an understatement.
3. COLORADO 19-7, 13-6 (4)
Last week: 80-62 home win vs. USC; 70-61 home win vs. UCLA
This week: Home vs. Arizona State, Thursday
Coming off its best weekend of the season, Colorado is ramping up for a strong finish. The Buffaloes have had just one bad performance (losing at Cal) since falling at Washington on Jan. 20 in a poor shooting effort.
4. USC 19-6, 13-5 (1)
Last week: 80-62 loss at Colorado; 71-61 loss at Utah
This week: Home vs. Stanford, Wednesday; at UCLA, Saturday
The Trojans controlled their own destiny in the conference race before losing three of the last four. The Pac-12 regular-season title is still within reach if they can find some traction and Oregon slips.
5. ARIZONA 17-9, 11-9 (6)
Last week: 69-53 home win vs. Washington State; 75-74 home win vs. Washington; 80-69 loss at Oregon
This week: None
Arizona’s season ends with the players being punished despite having nothing to do with what put the program in its current situation. If a majority of the best players return, this will be one of the top Pac-12 teams next season.
6. OREGON STATE 13-11, 9-9 (8)
Last week: 59-57 win at California; 73-62 win at Stanford
This week: At Utah, Wednesday; home vs. Oregon, Sunday
What a difference two weeks make, as the Beavers won three of four and are threatening to steal that first-round bye from Stanford. OSU was picked by the media that covers the conference to finish last in the standings. Wayne Tinkle before the season: “I promise you, we won’t finish 12th.”
7. STANFORD 14-11, 10-9 (5)
Last week: 71-68 home loss to Oregon; 73-62 home loss to Oregon State
This week: at USC, Wednesday
Needing wins to keep chasing an NCAA berth, the Cardinal had bad luck last week in losing their top player (Oscar da Silva) to a foot injury the day before opening a two-game home set. Still, Stanford has the firepower (with da Silva) to shake up the Pac-12 bracket.
8. ARIZONA STATE 10-11, 7-8 (9)
Last week: 80-72 home win vs. Washington; 77-74 overtime home win vs. Washington State; home vs. Washington State, canceled
This week: At Colorado, Thursday; at Utah, Saturday
Because the Pac-12 tournament seeds will be decided by conference win percentage, the Sun Devils actually have a chance to grab the fifth seed. That would be an incredible accomplishment for a team that struggled to get in games in December and January.
9. UTAH 10-11, 7-10 (10)
Last week: 76-61 home loss to UCLA; 71-61 home win vs. USC
This week: Home vs. Oregon State, Wednesday; home vs. Arizona State, Saturday
This team has shown it can hang with the top squads in the conference but also produce droughts that lead to lopsided defeats. Winning four games in four days next week to keep the Utes’ season alive is probably too much to ask.
10. WASHINGTON STATE 14-12, 7-12 (7)
Last week: 69-53 loss at Arizona; 77-74 overtime loss at Arizona State; at Arizona State, canceled
This week: None
The Cougars could have moved up a spot or two had they defeated the Sun Devils once. But WSU lost the first one in overtime then had the second one canceled due to a COVID-19 problem in its program.
11. WASHINGTON 5-20, 4-16 (11)
Last week: 80-72 loss at Arizona State; 75-74 loss at Washington
This week: None
The Huskies can only wonder how much better their record could have been had they won more games decided by single digits. They lost six such contests in Pac-12 play and seven overall.
12. CALIFORNIA 8-19, 3-17 (12)
Last week: 59-57 home loss to Oregon State; 74-63 home loss to Oregon
This week: None
The Golden Bears head to Vegas with one win since Jan. 16. But there’s no guarantee they will roll over for Oregon State, Stanford or Arizona State.