Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon junior guard Joseph Young.
Stanford Cardinal (16-8, 7-5 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: at UConn, Arizona State, at Cal
Bad Losses: at Oregon State
Stanford is in the field of 68 right now, but this team lacks consistency. The Cardinal did give a then-undefeated Arizona team a run for its money on Jan. 29 and knocked off Arizona State and Cal. It then lost at Washington 64-60 on Feb. 12, though.
Junior guard Chasson Randle and senior forward Dwight Powell lead a Stanford squad averaging 75.2 points per game (79th in the nation). Randle is scoring 18.5 points per game, while Powell is averaging 15.1 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. Junior Anthony Brown continues to be a playmaker from beyond the arc with a 49.4 three-point field-goal percentage.
Head coach Johnny Dawkins is looking to take his team to its first NCAA tournament since 2008, but there is work to be done down the stretch against the top teams in the Pac-12. If they lose three of their final six games and fail to add one or two more wins in the Pac-12 tournament, the Cardinal could be in for a stressful Selection Sunday.
Oregon Ducks (17-8, 5-8 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: Georgetown, Illinois
Bad Losses: at Oregon State
Oregon has the talent and ability to be a tournament team, but it has been unclutch in conference play.
The Ducks have lost four important conference games by two points and likely will need to win at least five of their last six games to even have a chance of being considered for the NCAA tournament. The two two-point losses in the desert during the first week of February were a tough pill to swallow for Dana Altman’s squad.
Junior guard Joseph Young has been the Ducks main scorer with 18.7 points per game. Senior forward Mike Moser (12.7 points per game) and senior guard Jason Calliste (12.5 points per game) have chipped in on the scoring attack as well.
While Oregon is ninth in the nation in scoring (83.5 points per game) and shooting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc, its decision-making at the end of games and defense has been a weakness.
Oregon was 26-8 and only received a 12 seed last season, meaning a bid to the tournament at this point of the season could be out of reach. If it can get key wins down the stretch, however, the NIT tournament could be avoided.
Utah Utes (17-9, 6-8 in Pac-12)
Key Wins: UCLA
Bad Losses: at Washington State
Don’t count the Utes out quite yet, but it’s fair to say they are about a year away from being an NCAA tournament team. If this team can pull off a three or four quality wins before the end of the regular season, the dream could come true in Salt Lake City.
Junior guard Delon Wright (16 points per game) leads a Utah squad averaging 78.1 points per game (38th in the nation) and shooting an astounding 49.7 percent from the field (eighth in the nation). Jordan Loveridge (15.2 points per game) and Brandon Taylor (10.8 points per game) also are making noise in the scoring game as well.
Utah hosted No. 4 Arizona on Wednesday night, but the Utes lost 67-63 in overtime, just missing the opportunity for an upset.
Note: Washington, Oregon State, Washington State and USC only will advance to the NCAA tournament with a Pac-12 tournament title.