NCAA Tournament: Who Will Go Dancing from the Pac-10?
Having recently passed the midway point of Pac-10 play, it's time to look at the NCAA Tournament chances for each team in the nation’s toughest conference.
There are no easy games in-league, as we saw Sunday, when the ninth-place Huskies took out the mighty UCLA Bruins.
The conference has never put seven teams in the tournament, but if there were ever a year, this is it.
It is certainly debatable, but a 9-9 record with a win in the conference tournament should get you in the Big Dance.
Generally, .500 records are bad news, but in the Pac-10 it holds more weight because they play a true round-robin, unlike the Big-Ten, SEC, Big XII, or ACC.
So with 9-9 as the baseline, lets breakdown the chances of the Pac-9, since it will take a fairly significant upset for the Oregon State Beavers to not go 0-18.
UCLA 21-3 (9-2)
Home—Oregon State, Oregon, Stanford, Cal
Road—USC, Arizona State, Arizona
One of the best teams in the nation.
Kevin Love is a dominant big man and Darren Collison is the best point guard in the league.
At this point, the Bruins are playing for seeding in the Big Dance and a conference title.
They would love to be the #1 seed out west as they would greatly benefit from a Anaheim, Phoenix path to the Final Four.
Odds on Dancing—100 percent
STANFORD 20-3 (9-2)
Home—Cal, Washington, Washington State
Road—USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona
Very solid inside with the Lopez twins, Lawrence Hill, and Taj Finger.
They need to get more out of their guards, especially at the point, where Mitch Johnson seems over matched in most every game.
Not likely to take the title from the Bruins, but there is a clear gap between the Cardinals and the mess of teams vying for 3rd through 7th .
Odds on Dancing: 100 percent
ARIZONA 15-8 (5-5)
Home—Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA
Road—Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Oregon
Possibly the most dangerous team in the country not in the Top 25 right now.
They are a completely different team with Bayless healthy, and his absence was a big reason for their losses at home to Oregon and at Arizona State.
The schedule sets up nicely for them as they have the two “easiest” road trips left.
Solid out of conference work as well with wins over Texas A&M and @ Houston.
Despite a somewhat shocking loss today to ASU at home they are still in pretty good shape to earn a bid.
Odds on Dancing: 75 percent
WASHINGTON STATE 18-5 (6-5)
Home—Arizona State, Arizona, Washington
Road—Oregon State, Oregon, Cal, Stanford
The Cougs got a win they needed against USC, but still are not a lock for the tourney.
At 6-5 with likely upcoming wins over Oregon State and Washington, they would still need to win two of the other five to feel really safe.
That could prove difficult given that Arizona blew them out, ASU and Oregon took them to the wire, and they just got swept by the Bay Area schools.
Outside of two nice road wins at Baylor and Gonzaga, their non-conference schedule was excessively soft.
For a team once ranked in the top five, missing the tournament is a real possibility, but ultimately they should slide in.
Odds on Dancing: 60 percent to 65 percent
USC 15-8 (6-5)
Home—UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford
Road—Arizona, Arizona State
Despite the rocky start, the Trojans are in a good position to get into the tournament.
They have five of their last seven at home and have been playing well over the past few weeks.
If they are on the bubble they will hold a trump card over anyone they are compared to (the win at UCLA). The key games for the Trojans will likely be the visits from the Bay Area schools who swept them to begin Pac-10 play.
Odds on Dancing: 65 percent to 70 percent
CALIFORNIA 14-8 (5-6)
Home—Washington State, Washington
Road—Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, USC, UCLA
Their schedule is the polar opposite of the Trojans, as the Bears will play five of their last seven on the road.
Oregon dealt a serious blow to the Bears' hopes on Saturday in Haas Pavilion.
With the schedule against them and two losses to the team closest in the standings to them (Oregon), the Bears’ chances look bleak.
Odds on Dancing: 25 percent
ARIZONA STATE 15-7 (5-5)
Home—Stanford, Cal, UCLA, USC
Road—Washington State, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State
Good looking win over Xavier, but not much else in their non-conference schedule.
Impressive sweep over the rival Wildcats, especially the win today at Arizona.
The win snapped their five-game skid and the schedule is not too bad coming down the stretch.
Most likely they will need to split their remaining road games and win at least two of their home games to have a shot.
Odds on Dancing: 25 percent
OREGON 14-9 (5-6)
Home—Washington, Washington State, Arizona State, Arizona
Road—USC, UCLA, Oregon State
The Ducks won a very big bubble game at California in impressive fashion.
At 5-6, if the Ducks win out at home and beat OSU on the road, they should get in.
That will be difficult, however, as they continue to get erratic play out of the point guard position.
In non-conference play the Ducks have a win that keeps looking better (at Kansas State), but also have an equally bad loss on a neutral floor to Oakland.
Odds on Dancing: 35 percent
WASHINGTON 13-11 (4-7)
Home—Arizona, Arizona State
Road—Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Cal, Washington State
The Huskies picked up a huge win against UCLA, but still have some serious work to do.
Jon Brockman is a force down low and one of the most under-appreciated players in a conference full of great ones.
Washington does not get much out of their guards, and if Ryan Appleby is not hitting threes, the Huskies struggle mightily to score.
If Justin Dentmon can play like he did against the Bruins they have a chance, but it will be an uphill battle.
Odds on Dancing: 5 percent
The Pac-10 should get five bids no problem and a sixth seems likely.
At this point my best guess is that UCLA, Stanford, USC, Arizona, and Washington State all make it fairly easily.
For the last bid it will be a battle between Cal, Oregon, and ASU.
If the Ducks can get a sweep of the Washington schools this weekend they will be in the best position thanks to their two wins over Cal and a home game still to play against Arizona State.
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