Let’s start the day with hot links.
AROUND THE PAC-12:
— UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad sat out practice Tuesday in hopes of shaking the flu bug. Chances are he’ll play Thursday against Washington.
— Bud Withers has a quick roundup of news and notes from Tuesday’s teleconference with Pac-12 coaches.
— With five weeks left in the conference season, it’s anyone’s guess how many Pac-12 teams make the NCAA tournament. Ryan Thorburnat the Daily Camera writes: “Barring late-season collapses, Arizona and Oregon are locks to receive at-large bids. Arizona State, CU and UCLA will play their way in or out over the next nine games. Up and down Cal, Stanford and Washington appear to be destined for the NIT or CBI, unless one of them cuts down the nets at the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. Oregon State, Utah, USC and Washington State are all on track to have losing seasons. Three of these programs could be in the market for a new head coach come March.”
— Arizona senior guard Kevin Parrom will play tonight against Stanford after he was ejected last Saturday at Washington State during an incident when he picked up a flagrant-two foul.
— These are trying times for No. 19 Oregon. There’s a chance the Ducks could be without their top two point guards Thursday against Colorado. Coach Dana Altman was cryptic on the return of freshman Dominic Artis, who has missed the past three games with a foot injury. And backup Johnathan Loyd suffered a thumb injury last Saturday. His status is uncertain. According to the Register-Guard: “If Loyd doesn’t play, freshman Willie Moore will take over at point guard with senior forward E.J. Singler as his emergency backup.”
— Jordan Bachynski might just be the “X” factor to Arizona State’s season. The 7-2 junior center told the Arizona Republic:“The games I play well, our team generally plays well. And it’s humbling to be in that position where the team relies on you being such a big part. It’s demanding mentally because everyday you have to come with it. I’m doing my best to step up to it, but I’ve got a ways to go.”
— Last-place Oregon State faces 11th-place Utah tonight. Despite their standing, the Beavers don’t feel as if they’re in a state of desperation. Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak has a different opinion.
— OSU coach Craig Robinson told the Salt Lake Tribune: “We’re consistently trying to fix what’s wrong. We do feel that we’re more talented than our record. But our record is our record because we’re not living up to the talented level that we have. We can be as talented as we want. But if we’re not playing well, then it means nothing.”