Recent history suggests No. 19 Oregon is playing for its NCAA tournament life today.
The Ducks are in a similar precarious position that Washington occupied last year heading into the regular-season finale.
Oregon is No. 50 in the RPI, which is exactly where the Huskies were a year ago.
The Ducks are 23-7 and on top of the conference at 12-5. Washington was 21-8 and in first place with a 14-3 mark in 2012
The Huskies lost their last regular-season game at UCLA, but backed into a Pac-12 title. If the Ducks lose today at Utah, they could still claim a share of the title assuming the Bruins also stumble.
In 2012, Washington went on to lose its Pac-12 Tournament opener in a stunning quarterfinal upset. Three days later on Selection Sunday the Huskies were left out of the NCAA tournament.
It seems inconceivable that a team ranked 19th two weeks before the NCAA tournament could miss the Big Dance.
However, Oregon’s resume is somewhat lackluster. It’s best wins are against UNLV and Arizona. The Ducks also lost to UTEP and may not be able to afford a defeat to Utah, which is No. 184 in the RPI.
The Pac-12 needs Oregon and/or No. 23 UCLA (22-8, 12-5) to win today if for no other reason than to avoid a possible log-jam at the top of the conference standings. California finished its regular season at 20-10 and 12-6 while No. 18 Arizona (23-6, 11-6) is still in contention for the title with a game remaining.
In the event of a tie, the Pac-12 recognizes co-champions for the regular season title. The tie-breaker rules come into play to sort out the seeding for the Pac-12 Tournament.
Here’s a look at the possible scenarios:
— If Oregon wins, the Ducks are the No. 1 seed
— If UCLA wins and Oregon loses, the Bruins are No. 1.
— If Oregon and UCLA win, they share the regular-season title and the Ducks are the No. 1 seed.
— A three-way tie between Oregon, UCLA, and California gives the No. 1 seed to Cal.
— A four-way tie between Oregon, UCLA, Cal and Arizona also gives the No. 1 seed to Cal.