Pac-12 Basketball: Who's in and Who's out of This Year's March Madness?
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We head into the final week of Pac-12 regular-season play with six teams in the NCAA Tournament discussion, but will all six teams find themselves in the dance when it's all said and done?
Not only are teams fighting for a position to make the NCAA Tournament, but the Pac-12 regular-season title is still on the line. Oregon, UCLA, Cal and Arizona are still in the hunt to win at least a share of the conference title.
As much as the Pac-12 has shown inconsistency this season, it is a much improved conference from what it has been in year's past.
Here is a look at who will be dancing and who will not be.
1. Arizona Wildcats
Arizona senior forward Solomon Hill.
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Record: 23-6 (11-6 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: Southern Miss, Florida, Miami (FL), San Diego State, Colorado
They have a good resume of wins, so this stretch will not affect them in receiving a bid to play in the NCAA Tournament. It only affected them in the Pac-12 regular-season title race.
For Arizona to earn a share of the conference title, Oregon would need to lose at both Colorado and Utah, UCLA would need to be swept by the Washington schools and Cal would need to lose to Stanford. Arizona, of course, would need to make sure they took care of business at home against in-rival Arizona State.
Chances of this scenario happening is very slim, but it still needs to be mentioned.
Lyons is averaging 15.1 points per game and is shooting 84.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Hill is averaging 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and Johnson has been solid, averaging 11.4 points per game.
Arizona needs a win this Saturday to give themselves a confidence booster heading into the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas next week. No matter what happens, though, they will be NCAA Tournament bound.
2. Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State freshman guard Jahii carson.
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Arizona State Sun Devils
Record: 20-10 (9-8 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: Colorado (Twice), UCLA, Cal
The Arizona State Sun Devils have been sitting on the bubble for at least a month.
They were already in panic mode when they lost at home to a mediocre Washington team at home on Feb. 23. Like rival Arizona, the Sun Devils were swept in LA as well.
The 57-56 loss at USC on Saturday specifically put them in a tough situation. As a team that is sitting right on the bubble, three straight losses is a no-no.
Things are not looking good and now they have to travel to Tucson on Saturday to take on Arizona. The Wildcats blew the Sun Devils out, 71-54, in Tempe on Jan. 19.
Star freshman Jahii Carson, who is one of the top freshman in college basketball this season, is going to need teammates Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski to step their games up if they want a shot at making it to the dance.
Even with an upset win at Arizona on Saturday, Arizona State may still need to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament title game to have a chance. Winning the Pac-12 Tournament title would, of course, guarantee them a spot in the NCAA Tournament and leave them feeling comfortable come Selection Sunday.
Prediction: Not Dancing
3. California Golden Bears
Junior guard Allen Crabbe (23) and sophomore forward David Kravish.
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California Golden Bears
Record: 20-9 (12-5 in Pac 12)
Key Wins: Oregon (Twice), Arizona, UCLA, Colorado
The California Golden Bears continue to be one of the hottest teams in college basketball.
After starting Pac-12 Conference play with a 3-4 record, the Golden Bears have won nine of their last 10 games and have the chance to win or earn a piece of the Pac-12 regular-season title.
Cal has only one regular-season game remaining, as they will host rival Stanford on Wednesday night. A revenge win over the Cardinal would at least keep their Pac-12 regular-season title hopes alive.
These are scenarios that could happen if Cal was to defeat Stanford.
1. To win the Pac-12 title outright, Oregon and UCLA would have to lose their two games on the road this week.
2. To earn at least a share of the Pac-12 title, Oregon and UCLA would need to drop at least one of their last two games.
There cannot be enough said about how clutch this Golden Bear squad has been of late.
Allen Crabbe helped his team take down Arizona on the road on Feb. 10 and at home against USC on Feb. 17. He has averaged 18.4 points per game this season and is dangerous from beyond the arc.
With a seven-game winning streak intact and crucial wins at the end of the regular season, Cal should be a lock to make their second NCAA Tournament appearance in a row. It's hard to imagine them not making noise in the Pac-12 Tournament next week. The Golden Bears will be dancing.
4. Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado freshman forward Josh Scott.
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Record: 19-9 (9-7 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: Colorado State, California, Oregon, Arizona
The 62-46 loss at Cal on Saturday was ugly, but they will have a chance to bounce back and make their case on Thursday when they host No. 19 Oregon. A win over a ranked Oregon squad would give the Buffaloes another solid win on their resume.
A win on Thursday and another one over Oregon State on Saturday would put Colorado in solid position to make the NCAA Tournament. According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, the Buffs are projected as an 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament right now.
A loss against Oregon may not affect them significantly, but a loss against Oregon State would place them closer to the bubble.
What is good about Colorado is that they will win at least one or two games in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Last season, the Buffs entered the Pac-12 Tournament as a six seed and shocked everyone by winning four-straight games to earn their first Pac-12 title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
5. Oregon Ducks
Oregon senior forward Arsalan Kazemi. Bruce Ely/The Oregonian
Record: 23-6 (12-4 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: UNLV, Arizona, UCLA
The Oregon Ducks started hot this season, going 18-2 and winning their first seven conference games. From Jan. 30 to Feb. 7, though, the Ducks lost three straight conference games to Stanford, Cal and Colorado.
Fortunately for Oregon, this trend did not continue and they went on to win five of their next six games.
Home wins against Stanford on Feb. 23 and Oregon State last Thursday proved to be a confidence booster for the Ducks as they head into the final week of the regular season.
Two wins this week at Colorado and Utah will give the Ducks their first regular-season championship since 2002.
The game at Colorado on Thursday is very important for this team. A loss at Colorado would put them in a bad situation. Not only would they potentially lose out on winning the Pac-12 regular-season title, they could end up dropping to a No. 2 or 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.
A lot of pressure is on third year head coach Dana Altman's squad and it should be interesting to see how they handle it.
Senior forward Arsalan Kazemi has been nothing but spectacular in the Ducks' past three games. He's averaged 14.3 points and 12.3 rebounds. Junior guard Johnathan Loyd is playing his best basketball of the season and the return of Dominic Artis, after missing nine games with a foot injury, makes this team better offensively.
Regardless of whether Oregon drops their last two regular-season games and loses their first game in the Pac-12 Tournament, they are a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
6. UCLA Bruins
UCLA senior guard Larry Drew II
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Record: 22-7 (12-4 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: Missouri, Cal, Colorado, Arizona (Twice)
The UCLA Bruins have won their last four games after losing 76-63 at Cal on February 14.
After a big home win against Arizona on Saturday night, the Bruins head into the final week of the schedule with a Pac-12 regular-season title on their minds.
If UCLA wins both games up in Washington this week they will earn at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title. If Oregon was to drop a game and UCLA wins both the Bruins would win the Pac-12 regular-season title outright. The Bruins have not won a Pac-12 regular-season title since 2008.
With freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad leading the way with 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, the Bruins have momentum heading into postseason play.
The Bruins are a much improved team since the beginning of the season and will be a tough matchup come tournament time. UCLA needs one more win to make them an automatic lock for the NCAA Tournament. They should be able to get at least one against Washington State or Washington.
This team passes the eye test and has good quality wins.