Things are getting crazy in the Pac-12.
Twenty-four hours ago it looked as if Oregon would coast to a conference title and you had a pretty good idea of the handful of teams that would represent the Pac-12 in the NCAA tournament.
Funny what a few upsets will do to threaten the pecking order.
With a win tonight, Washington (12-8, 4-3) could move from fifth place in the standings into a third-place tie. In addition to beating the No. 8 Wildcats (17-2, 5-2), the Huskies would need Arizona State to lose at Washington State.
The Huskies are riding a three-game losing streak and they know its a big week.
Times columnist Jerry Brewer writes: “This is the defining stretch of their season. If the Huskies can win two of these three games, then you can start to think of them as more than a mystery.”
Meanwhile, Arizona also hopes to end its three-game losing streak in Seattle comes to an end tonight.
THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:
— The biggest news last night was Stanford taking No. 10 Oregon to the woodshed and blowing out the Pac-12 leader in a stunning 76-52 victory at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal was favored by oddsmakers, but nobody would have guessed Stanford dominate the Ducks the way it did. The 24-point drubbing was particularly impressive considering Stanford (13-8, 4-4) was coming off of a 31-point blowout over Utah on Sunday.
— Oregon coach Dana Altman told the Register-Guard: “We just got it handed to us, there’s no other way to put it. It’s the first time we’ve fallen flat on our face this year. “I’m not going to lie, I’m very disappointed. A lot of it has to do with Stanford. They just kicked us.”
— For the Ducks (18-3, 7-1), their nine-game winning streak ended, but for the second game in a row they had at least 20 turnovers without injured freshman point guard Dominic Artis (foot.
— The other major surprise Thursday was UCLA losing to crosstown rival USC 75-71 in overtime on a night the Bruins retired Reggie Miller’s No. 31 jersey. UCLA (16-6, 6-3) has dropped three of its last four and are in danger of slipping out of second place in the league after losing its only game this week.
— USC point guard Jio Fontan told the LA Daily News: “It’s history to come in here and come out with the victory in their new building. This whole week we took it serious. We wanted the win.” The Trojans improve to 9-13, 4-5.
— Thanks to Carrick Felix and Jahii Carson, Arizona State (16-4, 5-2) is starting to garner some national attention.
— Here’s a breakdown of Washington State’s eight narrow defeats.
— Washington State received bad news from the NCAA, which denied a waiver to allow freshman Demarquise ‘Que’ Johnson to practice for the remainder of the season. He’s had been ruled a non-academic qualifier and is unable to play.
— California (11-8, 3-4) has to be encouraged by what Stanford did last night. The Golden Bears are also hoping to win a pair of home games this week against the Oregon schools.
— At 11-9 and 1-6 in conference, Oregon State needs a couple of wins this week in the Bay Area to get back in the Pac-12 race.