Any scenario in which Washington makes a rapid ascent up the Pac-12 standings requires two essential ingredients.
First, the Huskies must string together as many wins as possible and Friday’s 72-49 rout over Washington State gave UW its second straight victory.
Secondly – and this is where things get dicey – the teams ahead of the Huskies in the standings must tumble like dominoes while the teams that are just behind UW need to lose at least one game down the stretch.
Washington (16-13, 8-8) is seventh in the standings, which is an unenviable spot heading into the Pac-12 Tournament in two weeks. Ideally, the Huskies would like to finish among the top four teams, which guarantees a first-round bye. Barring that, a fifth- or sixth-place finish is preferable because it ensures UW would avoid the top two seeded teams in the tourney until the championship game.
Arizona wrapped up the No. 1 seed to the Pac-12 Tournament and UCLA is currently in second place in the standings, just a a game ahead of Arizona State, Colorado, Stanford and California who are tied for third. Washington is next and just 1/2 game ahead of Oregon, Utah and Oregon State who are tied for eighth.
The Huskies are rooting against Arizona State because they beat the Sun Devils in their only meeting this season and would get the nod if the teams are tied in the standings.
Washington split the regular-season series with Colorado and Stanford so if those teams were to lose ground in the conference race it would be a bad thing for UW. The same goes for UCLA, which plays at Washington next week.
Cal swept the Huskies so if those teams tied in the standings, UW would get the lower seed.
You can make yourself crazy trying to determine the various postseason seeding scenarios for Washington.
Bottom line: The Huskies have to keep winning and they need a whole lot of luck.
SATURDAY MORNING LINKS:
— And here’s a postgame interview with Nigel Williams-Goss thanks to the Pac-12 Networks.
— If you needed any proof that this is a make-or-break season at Arizona State, then look at the seven-man senior class the Sun Devils will honor Saturday for Senior Day. The class includes: Jordan Bachynski, Jermaine Marshall and Shaquielle McKissic, all starters. He’s not a senior, but sophomore Jahii Carson should join the goodbye celebrations because he announced before the season that he’s entering the NBA draft this summer.
— Oregon needs to take care of business and roll over USC to keep its momentum going.
— Utah looks to literally rebound from an early-season loss to Colorado.
— Strange times on Westwood. UCLA suspended its two best players Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams from Thursday’s game, a double overtime loss to Oregon. But their absence allowed freshman Bryce Alford and Zach LaVine to emerge as young bright stars.
— For some odd reason, Colorado junior Spencer Dinwiddie, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, is thinking about leaving school early and entering the NBA draft. Due to his recovery, he wouldn’t be able to participate in pre-draft workouts. There’s a few precedents of injured underclassmen being taken in the draft (Kyrie Irving and Nerlans Noel) but those guys were lottery picks. Dinwiddie is good, but he’s not a lottery pick.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Colorado (20-8, 9-6) at Utah (18-9, 7-8), 11 a.m. PT ………….. Pac-12 Networks
Oregon (19-8, 7-8) at USC (10-18, 1-14), 1 p.m. ………………. Pac-12 Networks
California (18-10, 9-6) at Arizona State (20-8, 9-6), 3 p.m. …… Pac-12 Networks
Picks: Utah, Oregon and ASU
Pac-12 tally: 66-25
Season tally: 165-48