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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-10 Power Rankings

With one weekend left in men’s basketball conference play — followed by the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament in Los Angeles next weekend — here’s a breakdown of the conference’s chances at the NCAA Tournament:

 

1. California (20-9, 12-5 Pac-10)

National RPI: No. 21

Strength of schedule: No. 10

Key wins: ASU (2), vs. Washington

Bad losses:  vs. UCLA, at Oregon State, at Arizona

Status: Lock

Notes: Conference champions for the first time in 50 years, the Bears will receive an at-large bid if they lose in the Pac-10 Tournament. And that’s the best possible chance of the Pac-10 receiving more than one bid to the big dance. The Bears played Syracuse, Ohio State, New Mexico and Kansas before January, so strength of schedule is not an issue. California just doesn’t have any marquee wins.

 

2. ASU (20-9, 10-6)

National RPI: No. 54

Strength of schedule: No. 71

Key wins: vs. San Diego State

Bad losses:  at UCLA, at USC, vs. Arizona

Status: Bubble

Notes: The Sun Devils need to sweep this weekend against the Los Angeles schools to stay in contention for an at-large bid. That would make them 6-1 in their last 7 games heading into the Pac-10 Tournament. Given they beat up on a low seed in the opening round — which isn’t really given — things looks promising unless other single-bid conferences sneak in an extra automatic bid in their tournament.

 

3. Washington (19-9, 9-7)

National RPI: No. 53

Strength of schedule: No. 55

Key wins: vs. Cal, vs. Texas A&M

Bad losses: vs. Oregon, at UCLA, vs. USC

Status: Bubble

Notes: The Huskies have a leg up against ASU with a better strength of schedule and key wins. Despite losing five of seven games at one point earlier in the season, Quincy Pondexter has turned it up down the stretch — they’ve won six of eight heading into a must-win weekend at the Oregon schools. 

 

4. USC (16-12, 8-8)

National RPI: No. 104

Strength of schedule: No. 81

Status: Impossible

Notes: A self-imposed ban keeps the Trojans outside regardless of the Pac-10 Tournament outcome. Plus, they’re out of gas.

 

5. Arizona (14-14, 8-8)

National RPI: No. 90

Strength of schedule: No. 32

Status: Must win tournament

Notes: It’s not out of the question; the Wildcats can make a late Tournament push through the Pac-10, and maybe Momo Jones’ buzzer-beater will provide them with enough confidence. But nobody is immortal in the conference.

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