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Pac-12 Basketball: Power Rankings and March Madness Predictions

David A. BowersCorrespondent IIFebruary 27, 2013

Pac-12 Basketball: Power Rankings and March Madness Predictions

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    The Pacific-12 Conference currently has two teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP Poll, four teams in the RPI top 50, five teams in the BPI top 50 and four teams with 20 or more wins on the season.

    The conference is in much better shape than last year when only the conference tournament champion Colorado Buffaloes made the NCAA tournament field of 64. The Cal Bears were invited but lost in the first four to South Florida.

    A total of nine teams received postseason invitations with five going to the NIT and two headed to the CBI Tournament. It looks as if it may be possible to field five teams in the NCAA tournament if everything falls into place just so.

    Here is the Pac-12 power rankings and tournament predictions entering the final two weeks of the regular season.

No. 1: Arizona Wildcats

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    Record: 23-4, 11-4 Pac-12

    Ranking: No. 11 AP, No. 11 USA Today/Coaches 

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 9

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 11 

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 31 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): Miami, Florida

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Colorado, San Diego State, Creighton

    Bad Losses (to teams with 100+ RPI): N/A

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 5-4

    It appears that the Wildcats are back on track. They have won their past three after suffering their first losing streak of the year. Not only did they win their past three contests, but they won by an average of 13 points, the best three-game stretch since entering Pac-12 play this year.

    Two of their final games are on the road against the L.A. schools and their season finale is at home hosting their in-state rival, Arizona State Sun Devils. 

    Final Record Prediction: 26-4, 14-4 Pac-12

    Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 3 seed

No. 2: Oregon Ducks

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    Record: 22-6, 11-4 Pac-12

    RankingNo. 24 AP

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 29

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 48 

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS)109 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): Arizona, UNLV

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): UCLA

    Bad Losses (to teams with 100+ RPI): UTEP

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-4

    The Ducks are an odd bird. They dominated the Pac-12 at the beginning, defending their home court by beating Arizona and then-ranked UCLA at home. Then came the three-game slump including a 48-47 loss at home to Colorado. Just when it seemed as is they were back on track with three straight W's, they lost at home to Cal in another low-scoring game, 48-46.

    Oregon's final home game is Thursday, hosting the Oregon State Beavers, then it finishes the season on the road against the rocky mountain teams in Colorado and Utah.

    Final Season Prediction: 24-7, 13-5 Pac-12 (lose at Colorado)

    Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 7 seed

No. 3: UCLA Bruins

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    Record: 20-7, 11-4 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 35

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 42

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 44 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): Arizona

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Missouri, Colorado, California

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): Cal Poly, USC

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 4-4

    The Bruins exacted sweet revenge on the cross-town USC Trojans with a 16-point victory at the Galen Center on Sunday. They have now won four of their last five after losing three of the prior four. With Sunday's win, they reached the 11-win conference win plateau and 20-win overall win mark.

    They are one of teams in the Pac-12 with four games remaining and host the Arizona schools this week and close out the season on the road at the Washington schools.

    Final Season Prediction: 23-8,  14-5 Pac-12 (lose to Arizona)

    Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 8 seed

No. 4: California Golden Bears

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    Record: 18-9, 10-5 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 52

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI)43

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 34 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): Arizona

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Oregon (twice), UCLA

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): N/A

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 4-5

    Although the Bears' season started bumpy, they have been on fire as of late. Of their four nonconference losses, two of them were to teams ranked in the RPI Top 25 and their conference losses were all to teams in the top 100.

    Cal has won five straight and seven of the their last eight with its only loss coming at Arizona State. The remaining games for the Bears are all at home and against teams below them in the conference ranking.

    Final Season Prediction: 21-9,  13-5 Pac-12

    Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 10 seed

No. 5: Colorado Buffaloes

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    Record: 18-8, 8-6 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 30

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 27

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 18 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): Arizona, Colorado St.

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Oregon, California

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): Utah

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 4-3

    Tad Boyle's Buffs have had a roller-coaster season. They needed double-overtime to dispatch a Texas Southern team out of the SWAC and lost at Wyoming. They entered conference play losing four of their first five but have won seven of their past nine with only an embarrassing showing against Utah on the road and a heart-breaking overtime loss at home to Arizona State at home as blemishes.

    Their final four games include going on the road to the Bay Area schools and then hosting the Oregon schools to close out the season.

    Final Season Prediction: 21-9,  11-7 Pac-12 (lose at Cal)

    Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 12 seed (first four)

No. 6: Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Record: 20-8, 9-6 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 65

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 85

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 137 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): N/A

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Colorado (twice), UCLA, California

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): DePaul, Utah

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 4-3

    What a season it has been for the Sun Devils. Arizona State has revived its basketball program from life support. Since the departure of James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph to the NBA, the Devils have been doing good to win 10 games overall, they look to have 10 wins in conference this year.

    The Devils won six of their first eight conference games and then hit a road block. They have lost four of their last seven but the two wins were against RPI Top 50 teams. If the season were to end today, the Sun Devils would definitely be in consideration for a tournament bid. Unfortunately, they still have three more games left in the regular season—and they are all on the road.

    They travel to take on the Los Angeles schools this week then have a week to rest up for going to Tucson the following Saturday to take on the Wildcats who belittled them by 17 points at home earlier this season.

    There are two ways for the Devils to get into the NCAA tournament, win out or win the conference tournament—so there is still hope in the desert for the Sun Devil faithful.

    Final Season Prediction: 21-10,  10-8 Pac-12 (beating USC)

    Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 1 seed

No. 7: Stanford Cardinal

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    Record: 16-12, 7-8 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 48

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 65

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 38  

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): N/A

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Oregon, California

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): USC (twice)

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-9

    The Cardinal never got any momentum going this year. They started off 3-0 and then lost three of their next four. They won the next three but then lost three of next five. This seemed to be the Cardinal's M.O. going into conference play as well. After stringing together three wins including a 24-point victory over No. 10 Oregon, they have lost four of their past six.

    They host the Rocky Mountain schools this week and close out the regular season at Cal on March 6. 

    Final Season Prediction: 17-14,  8-10 Pac-12

    Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 2 seed.

No. 8: Washington Huskies

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    Record: 15-13, 7-8 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 72

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 74

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 20

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): N/A

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): Saint Louis, California, Colorado

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): Albany, Nevada, Utah, USC, Oregon St.

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-8

    The Huskies love playing Arizona State and it shows. They have only won three of their past seven games and two of the victories were against the Sun Devils.After winning their first four conference games, the Husky faithful were hoping to repeat as regular-season champs. Since then, they have lost four straight and eight of their last 11.

    The final three games for the Huskies are at home hosting Washington State and the L.A. schools. The Huskies should be able to pick up two of the three. 

    Final Season Prediction: 17-14,  9-9 Pac-12

    Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 5 seed

No. 9: USC Trojans

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    Record: 12-15, 7-7 Pac-12

    Basketball Power Index (BPI): 96

    Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): 105

    Strength of Schedule Ranking (SOS): 26 

    Key Wins (vs. RPI Top 25): N/A

    Quality Wins (vs. RPI 26-50): UCLA

    Bad Losses (to teams with 101+ RPI): UC Irvine, Georgia

    Record vs. RPI Top 50: 1-11

    You have to give it up for the Trojans for playing a tough schedule. The 26th-most difficult schedule is admirable, but in order for it to look impressive, you have to win more than one of them. A one point, the Trojans had lost five straight in nonconference play, however, three of those teams have a top 20 RPI ranking.

    Southern Cal did put together a four-game win streak giving hope to the Men of Troy, but they have lost two straight now and the future looks bleak.

    Of their four remaining home games, they host the Arizona schools and close out the regular season on the road against the Washington schools.

    Final Season Prediction: 13-19,  8-10 Pac-12 (beating WSU)

    Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 7 seed

The Rest

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    The remaining teams are basically the same, with only eight conference wins between them, the only difference is where they will be seeded for the Pac-12 Tournament.

    10: Oregon State Beavers

     

    11: Utah Utes

     

    12: Washington State Cougars

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