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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 22, 2006 at 6:49 PM

Wild race to the finish

Conventional wisdom last October held that the Pac-10 would be as crazy this season as it ever has been.
But I’m not sure we really envisioned this. Mike Tyson wasn’t this crazy the night he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear.
With two weeks left, five teams stand a legitimate shot of winning the conference title. And here’s a good omen for Husky fans — should either of the top two teams lose one more game, it will be the most losses for a conference champ since the 1984-85 season, when the Huskies tied with USC at 13-5. UW won the tiebreaker and is officially listed as the champ for that season.
But enough history.
Here’s a look at what each of the top five teams has remaining:
UCLA (10-4) — home against Oregon State and Oregon, then at Cal and Stanford.
Cal (10-4) — at Washington State and Washington, then home against UCLA and USC.
Stanford (9-5) — at Washington and Washington State, then home against USC and UCLA.
Washington (9-5) — home against Stanford and Cal, then at Arizona State and Arizona.
Arizona (9-6) — home against Arizona State this weekend then home against Washington State and Washington.
The team with the easiest schedule left is Arizona, with two almost certain wins before hosting the Huskies. But Arizona also has the most ground to make up and the fewest games in which to do so.
UCLA probably has the second-easiest schedule since it should be able to beat Oregon State and Oregon at home this weekend. Getting those two wins will at least give UCLA 12 conference wins and take any pressure off concerning making the NCAA Tournament.
Cal and Stanford obviously have the same schedule, though in slightly different order. I’d argue that Stanford’s road is slightly harder due to facing UW tonight and then WSU on Saturday. It seems harder to make this trip in that order and WSU’s only three Pac-10 home this year have come on Saturdays, twice when teams were playing in Pullman two nights after playing in Seattle.
Washington’s schedule could be deemed the toughest of the bunch as the Huskies are the only one that has to play three of the other five teams.
As much intrigue as there is in who will come out on top, there’s just as much in seeing whether all five can really get NCAA tournament berths. I’m still not convinced the Pac-10 will get five. I see UW and UCLA as all but in, given their overall records. If Arizona gets to 11-7, which I figure it will, I think the Wildcats will get in, as well, due to their RPI and reputation.
That potentially leaves Cal and Stanford battling each other for the last spot.
I give the edge to Cal there.
As for the Pac-10 title, I’m the one of those guys who picked Arizona before the year started. I don’t think Arizona’s getting there now. Based on schedule and season to date, I’m giving the edge to UCLA — today, anyway.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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