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With conference tournaments beginning this week, it's time for scoreboard-watching across the Pac-12 and, especially, in Eugene.
Oregon is currently the only Pac-12 team on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Results in tournaments coast-to-coast could determine whether the Ducks sneak into March Madness or get left home.
After all, bid stealers are the bane of bubble teams everywhere, shrinking the number of available at-large slots.
As we see the landscape, at least five conferences outside the Power Six pack the potential to derail Oregon's pursuit of a berth.
American Athletic: If the AAC produces a champion not named Houston or Memphis, that's problematic for the Ducks.
Atlantic 10: Davidson is a lock for the NCAAs. If any team other than the Wildcats wins the automatic bid, the A-10 could gobble up two spots, not one.
Conference USA: The Ducks need North Texas to earn CUSA's automatic berth, just to be safe.
Missouri Valley: Loyola Chicago is on the NCAA bubble — and has a higher NET ranking than Oregon — if it doesn't win the MVC title.
Ohio Valley: Like Davidson, Murray State is a lock. But if the OVC champ isn't the Racers, the league will collect two bids, not one.
There are other leagues with potential bid-stealers, even right here in the Pac-12.
Arizona, USC and UCLA are assured of hearing their names called on Selection Sunday. But if Washington State or Colorado were to claim the automatic bid — to cite two possibilities — it very well could come at Oregon's expense.
At least in that situation, the Pac-12 would send four teams into the madness.
To the power ratings …
(NET ranking through Monday.)
1. Arizona (23-5/15-2)
Last week: 1
Results: won at Utah 97-77, lost at Colorado 79-63
Next up: at USC (Tuesday)
NET ranking: No. 2 (last week: 2)
Comment: The Wildcats remain the heavy favorite to win the Pac-12 tournament, unless it gets moved to Boulder.
2. USC (25-4/14-4)
Last week: 3
Results: won at OSU 94-91 (2OT) and Oregon 70-69
Next up: vs. Arizona (Tuesday)
NET ranking: No. 27 (last week: 24)
Comment: The losses to Stanford look worse and worse by the week. The narrow escapes against Cal, Pacific, WSU and OSU aren't much better. But it's tough to argue with 25 and 14, whatever the path.
3. UCLA (22-6/14-5)
Last week: 2
Results: lost at Oregon 68-63, won at OSU 94-55 and UW 77-66
Next up: vs. USC (Saturday)
NET ranking: No. 13 (last week: 13)
Comment: A full week to get Johnny Juzang healthy for a rematch against USC that carries psychological stakes for the Bruins but won't significantly alter their Pac-12 or NCAA seeds.
4. Oregon (18-11/11-7)
Last week: 4
Results: beat UCLA 68-63, lost to USC 70-69
Next up: at Washington (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 58 (last week: 63)
Comment: Any loss this week or next to a team other than Arizona, USC or UCLA will be damaging … and perhaps the final blow.
5. Colorado (19-10/11-8)
Last week: 5
Results: lost to ASU 82-65, beat Arizona 79-63
Next up: at Utah (Saturday)
NET ranking: No. 76 (last week: 79)
Comment: We don't see any path to the NCAA at-large pool, even if the Buffaloes reach the finals of the Pac-12 tournament. Their hole is simply too deep.
6. Arizona State (12-16/8-10)
Last week: 8
Results: won at Colorado 82-65 and Utah 63-61
Next up: vs. Cal (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 106 (last week: 119)
Comment: If the standings hold, the Sun Devils would face Stanford in the opening round in Las Vegas. Have to think they would be fine with that.
7. Washington State (16-13/9-9)
Last week: 6
Results: beat UW 78-70, lost at UW 78-70, won at OSU 103-97 (OT)
Next up: vs. Oregon State (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 57 (last week: 48)
Comment: Unexpectedly entertaining game Monday night in Corvallis. We do not foresee the rematch in Pullman being nearly as close.
8. Washington (14-14/9-9)
Last week: 7
Results: lost at WSU 78-70, beat WSU 78-70, lost to UCLA 77-66
Next up: vs. Oregon (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 124 (last week: 132)
Comment: If you can't win the Pac-12 regular-season title, at least drive a stake into your arch-rival's NCAA chances, right?
9. Utah (11-18/4-15)
Last week: 10
Results: lost to Arizona 97-77 and ASU 63-61
Next up: vs. Colorado (Saturday)
NET ranking: No. 121 (last week: 122)
Comment: Even with a victory this week, the Utes have sealed their worst conference record (by percentage) since joining the Pac-12 a decade ago — their first year under Larry Krystkowiak.
10. Cal (12-17/5-13)
Last week: 11
Results: beat Stanford 53-39
Next up: at ASU (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 129 (last week: 139)
Comment: Jordan Shepherd has clinched a spot on our all-transfer team. Now it's a matter of whether he's all-conference, too.
11. Stanford (15-13/8-10)
Last week: 9
Results: lost at Cal 53-39
Next up: at Arizona (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 111 (last week: 104)
Comment: Don't be surprised if the margin is closer in Tucson than in Tempe, what with the Wildcats coming off the showdown at USC. (Not that either will be all that close.)
12. Oregon State (3-25/1-17)
Last week: 12
Results: lost to USC 94-91 (2OT), UCLA 94-55 and WSU 103-97 (OT)
Next up: at Washington State (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 255 (last week: 251)
Comment: It has been so long, we had to double-check: The Beavers' lone victory was over Utah, in Corvallis at the end of December.
Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to KSL.com through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.
Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at email@example.com.
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