1. Washington Huskies (22-5)
With their most recent victory over Colorado, Washington clinched a share of a Pac-12 regular season title and on Thursday at California, they should just about put away any idea of Arizona State catching them. The Huskies have been the undisputed class of the league all through conference play, with just one Conference of Champions defeat on the road at the Sun Devils.
2. Arizona State Sun Devils (19-8)
Bobby Hurley’s squad have played themselves into the NCAA Tournament for now, but a treacherous stretch of games still awaits the second-place Sun Devils. Arizona State will finish out their regular season slate on the road at Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona, against three teams incredibly desperate for a victory. A program-defining two weeks awaits Hurley and company.
3. Oregon State Beavers (17-9)
Oregon State has somewhat held serve, but there’s no doubt the Beavers are still losing sleep over their losses to Stanford and UCLA. The team’s overall defense (with help from a regularly used 1-3-1 zone) has allowed just 64.5 points per contest over the last four games, but like Arizona State, a rough stretch awaits them. The Beavers need to finish out the season strong.
4. USC Trojans (15-13)
Another set of rankings in which a team moves up a spot basically by default, USC is more a product of this league’s inescapable futility than anything else. The Trojans are probably the program (outside of Washington and Arizona State) that nobody wants to see in the Pac-12 Tournament, but Andy Enfield has to first get his group there still playing some kind of quality ball.
5. Utah Utes (15-12)
Don’t look now rest of the league but the Utes sit just a game back of Arizona State for second place and have been playing some really inspired basketball compared to the rest of the Pac-12. The Utes narrowly missed a home victory over the Sun Devils but overall, they’ve won four of their last six. Their comeback win over UCLA was also one of the best league moments this season.
6. UCLA Bruins (15-13)
Shame on me for continuously continuing the Bruins are about to turn a corner. UCLA has so much talent stacked deep into this roster, yet the chemistry and regular flow clearly aren’t there. In moments, this squad looks dangerous enough to be an NCAA Tournament team. In moments, they also look like they could be a single-digit win club. Consistency is the name of the game.
7. Arizona Wildcats (16-12)
A seven-game losing skid was something the Wildcats program hasn’t endured in quite some time and Sean Miller’s complete loss for any beneficial adjustments was the true proof of that. The corruption scandal surrounding Arizona over the off-season (and their regular dominance of the league) will leave nobody feeling too bad for the Wildcats as they fade into the pack.
8. Colorado Buffaloes (16-11)
Colorado nullified a stretch of really bad play by picking off five straight victories over Oregon, UCLA, USC, Arizona State and Arizona. Yes, you read that correctly. And no, this league will never make any sense at all this season. However, the Buffs fell back into bad days when they dropped both legs of the Evergreen State road trip, including a two-point defeat at Washington State.
9. Stanford Cardinal (14-13)
Stanford has lost three of their last five games after winning three straight before that because the Pac-12 is truly the Conference of Champions, in every way shape and form. The Cardinal are actually one of the more enjoyable squads to watch in the league, as they come to play most nights for about 30 minutes. It’s been figuring out the details which have really hurt this squad.
10. Oregon Ducks (15-12)
A down-year for the league should’ve promised the Ducks a fair shot at the Pac-12 title down the stretch, but it’s just never come together for this group. The loss of Bol Bol has proved to be insurmountable and right now, it’s all about stopping the bleeding for Oregon. They’ve dropped three straight games and will finish out the campaign against the Arizona and Washington schools.
11. Washington State Cougars (11-16)
The Cougars’ regular effort and growth has been something to watch all season and their trying quest to improve came to fruition with head-turning, road wins at Arizona and Arizona State. Through the years, I’ve been a huge detractor of Ernie Kent remaining at Washington State, but the improvement has been tangible. Kent deserves some good fortune his way.
12. California Golden Bears (5-22)
Losers of sixteen straight contests now, the only thing saving head coach Wyking Jones’ job is probably the financial situation surrounding his contract and the school’s football stadium debt. Jones would be owed a million dollars for each of the next three seasons and new athletic director Jim Knowlton has remained quiet on making a decision until after the season ends.