If the season ended today, Washington would receive the No. 7 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament and face No. 10 Oregon, the 2013 champions, in a 6 p.m. opening-round game at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Arena.
The Huskies split the regular-season series and both teams won at home by single digits.
Most years it’s essential to finish the regular season among the top four, which guarantees a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Since the conference adopted byes in 2006, a team seeded lower than fourth has won the tournament champion in two of the past eight years. Colorado (sixth seed) did it in 2012 and USC (sixth seed) in 2009.
Finishing the regular season among the top four may not be so important this year because the 11th-place Washington State and 12th-place USC are really bad. The Trojans are riding an eight-game losing streak and the Cougars have lost six straight.
The fifth-place team plays No. 12 and sixth-place team plays No. 11, which appears to be a tuneup. And it gets better. If the fifth- and sixth-place teams advance, they wouldn’t face the top two seeds in the semifinals.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12
Game 1 — No. 8 Utah vs. No. 9 Oregon State, 12 p.m.
Game 2 — No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 USC, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3 — No. 7 Washington vs. No. 10 Oregon, 6 p.m.
Game 4 — No. 6 Arizona State vs. No. 11 Washington State, 8:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, MARCH 13
Game 5 — Game 1 winner vs. No. 1 Arizona, 12 p.m.
Game 6 — Game 2 winner vs. No. 4 Stanford, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 — Game 3 winner vs. No. 2 UCLA, 6 p.m.
Game 8 — Game 4 winner vs. No. 3 California, 8:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, MARCH 14
Game 9 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 6 p.m.
Game 10 — Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 8:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 15
Game 11 — Championship, 3 p.m.
With four games remaining, Arizona is two wins or two UCLA losses away from securing the No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, USC and Washington State are locked into the bottom two seeds.
There will likely to be plenty of movement amongst everyone else in the standings.
MONDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Justin Cobbs broke out of two-game shooting slump to score 22 points and freshman Jabari Bird added a pair of late 3-pointers as California beat USC 77-64 at Haas Pavilion. Cobbs had been mired in a 4-for-20 skid before going 8 of 10 from the floor against the Trojans. The Golden Bears’ point guard made his final five shots and added seven assists while helping Cal (18-9, 9-5 Pac-12) split the season-series with USC. Ricky Kreklow had 12 points off the bench while Bird and Tyrone Wallace scored 10 points apiece for the Bears.
— For the second straight game USC was without its leading scorer Byron Wesley who remained in Los Angeles and didn’t make the Bay Area trip after violating an unspecified team rule. PeShon Howard scored 17 points for the Trojans (10-17, 1-13), who have lost eight straight.
— Delon Wright scored 22 points, collected nine rebounds and had six assists and Utah blocked a season-high 12 shots during its 86-63 victory over Arizona State at Huntsmen Center. Jordan Loveridge added 18 points and six rebounds, Renan Lenz had 14 and Princeton Onwas 12 to help the Utes (18-9, 7-8 Pac-12) break a two game losing streak. Utah led 44-36 in rebounds 38-26 in points in the paint.
— Arizona State’s stars had a miserable night. Jahii Carson was held to eight points on 3-for-13 shooting, Jermaine Marshall had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting and Jordan Bachynski was 1 for 6 from the floor for five points. Four ASU starters combined for 22 points. Shaquielle McKissic led the Sun Devils (19-8, 8-6) with 16 points.
— Oregon overcame a six-point halftime deficit and the absence of one of its stars during a 67-53 win over Washington State at Matthew Knight Arena. Mike Moser had 21 points and Joseph Young 18 for the Ducks (18-8, 6-8) who won their third straight game. Oregon was down 31-24 at halftime and played without 19-year-old sophomore guard Damyean Dotson, who was suspended after being cited early Saturday morning for trying to use a fake I.D. to get into a campus-area bar. Jason Calliste started for the first time this season in Dotson’s place and scored 12 points.
— Washington State played well for 22 minutes. However, the Cougars fell apart in the second half. After the break, they shot 27.3 percent and were outscored 44-23. DaVonte Lacy scored 19 for WSU (9-18, 2-13) and D.J. Shelton had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
— And here’s the top 25 ballot I emailed to the Associated Press.
1. Florida (25-2)
2. Syracuse (25-2)
3. Arizona (25-2)
4. Wichita State (29-0)
5. Duke (22-6)
6. Villanova (24-3)
7. Louisville (23-4)
8. Kansas (21-6)
9. Saint Louis (25-2)
10. Virginia (23-5)
11. Creighton (23-4)
12. Wisconsin (22-5)
13. Cincinnati (24-4)
14. San Diego State (23-3)
15. Michigan (19-7)
16. Kentucky (21-6)
17. Iowa State (21-5)
18. Michigan State (22-6)
19. Ohio State (22-6)
20. North Carolina (20-7)
21. Texas (20-7)
22. Iowa (19-7)
23. Memphis (21-6)
24. UConn (21-6)
25. UCLA (21-6)
In – Memphis and North Carolina
Out – Arizona State and Pittsburgh