In response to a question I asked this week on the Pac-12 coaches conference call, Oregon coach Dana Altman said he was deferring judgment on the Ducks’ viability as a possible title contender. They’re 4-2 in the Pac-12 and have two road trips out of the way.
“I think you start figuring yourself in or out of the race about halfway through it,” Altman said.
Well, this weekend gets us close to that halfway point, and for the Huskies in particular, it’s a pivotal weekend against Cal and Stanford. The Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of Washington, not exactly a road warrior, tells me that the Huskies direly need to sweep this weekend.
The UW is even in the loss column against both Cal and Stanford, and obviously can take care of sole possession by beating both.
For the Cougars, the spoils are clearly not as lofty. They’re 1-4 in league, 9-8 overall, and tied for ninth place. They’re even behind Arizona State, a thin outfit that has had some off-the-floor issues like booting leading scorer Keala King.
So there isn’t any title contention on the horizon for WSU. But if the Cougars are harboring any hopes like an NIT bid, something they attained last year, they have to get moving.
Classes were cancelled Thursday at WSU, but it was mostly because of threatening weather reports that were calling for potential heavy snowfall. Instead, it’s warmed somewhat and it’s a rain-and-snow mix.
For WSU, there apparently won’t be any major travel advantage. Stanford landed last night at Spokane and arrived at its Moscow hotel about 10:30 p.m. after a bus trip down State Route 195 that included some freezing rain.