Pac-12 Basketball Preview: Oregon, UCLA Lead The Charge To March Madness


The Oregon Ducks are in good shape entering Pac-12 play despite two losses in Non-Conference play.

(From Autzen Zoo Contributor Mike Vamosi)

Conference play is set to begin next week and after the bulk of non-conference play being done both Los Angeles schools ranked but more importantly unbeaten so far. UCLA is a surprising 12-0 and ranked number two, Southern California is 10-0 and is at the bottom of the top 25 in both polls.

Arizona and Oregon are 11-2, Colorado 10-3, California 9-3, Utah 7-3, Stanford 8-4, Washington and Washington State 7-5, Arizona State is 7-6 with Oregon State checking in at 4-9.

The Bruins have the Pac-12’s best win as they went to Rupp Arena in Lexington and defeated then number one Kentucky, which signaled the coming out party for Steve Alford’s team. Impressive is that five of their 12 wins are against power five schools and 3-0 versus the Big Ten (Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State).

USC has just beaten everyone on their schedule so far this season, no real standout victory among the 10 wins but being unbeaten counts. Arizona has a win over Michigan State plus Texas A&M, both losses are to quality teams with Butler plus Gonzaga knocking them off.

Oregon slipped up early against a good Baylor team then dropped a game against Georgetown in the Maui Invitational which was roughly a month ago. They’ve defeated everyone else since and open conference play versus UCLA in Eugene which will be a good watch.

Colorado has stampeded out to a 10-3 mark with defeats coming to Notre Dame, Colorado State and at BYU, they boast wins over Texas plus Xavier. Cal has struggled against the better teams they’ve seen this season which shows in losses against San Diego State, Seton Hall plus Virginia.

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Speaking of non-challenging non-conference slates the Utes have accumulated wins but lost to Butler, Xavier plus San Francisco which means they’ve got work to do on the ol’ resume. The Cardinal might have had the most challenging slate thus far, wins over Harvard, Colorado State, Indiana State and Seton Hall the losses are to Miami (FL), Saint Mary’s, at Kansas and at SMU.

Washington dropped four straight after winning four in a row, losing to TCU twice (odd but home and home), Gonzaga, Nevada. No real standout victories. Washington State has alternated wins and losses much of this year, their best defeat is probably against Creighton in St. Thomas and against Kansas State.

Bobby Hurley’s team does just lose, they lose spectacular case in point 19 to Northern Iowa, eight to Davidson, 46 to Kentucky, 23 to Purdue, 11 to New Mexico State and Creighton bulk of those were in Tempe. Finally Oregon State, they started off 2-0 then dropped four consecutive, won one then dropped five more before picking up a victory.

At this point I’d say 3-4 NCAA tournament locks with the middle beating up each other and likely playing for the NIT. I’d expect the Trojans to come back down to earth while Bruins, Ducks and Wildcats to contend for the title.

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The Oregon Ducks open Pac-12 play hosting the two hottest Conferenece teams in UCLA and USC. The Ducks and Bruins tipoff on Wednesday at 6pm Pacific Time from Matthew Knight Arena.