Pac-12 basketball has put itself in position to get five teams into the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Each team can improve their potential seed in the NCAA Tournament if they perform well. However, with the volatility of play in the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball season, multiple scenarios are in play as teams approach the home stretch of the regular season.
Colorado Buffaloes Leading the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Standings
Record: 19-5 (8-3 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Dayton (in Chicago), VS Oregon
Bad losses: VS Oregon State, at UCLA
The Buffaloes are in line for a six seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament as of right now. They have been able to pull off huge resume-building wins against Oregon and Dayton, who both got places in the Selection Committee’s Top 16 seeds as of right now. Even though they are first in the Pac-12 standings, the Buffaloes have not been respected nationally as much as a conference leader should be.
Colorado has a huge opportunity to make an impression on the committee when they head to Eugene to play Oregon on Thursday. The Buffaloes also have the opportunity to avenge both of their bad losses at Oregon State (Feb. 15) and at home against UCLA (Feb. 22). If the Buffaloes can win out after the Oregon game and beat opponents not named Arizona and Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament, they will probably stay on the six-line as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned. However, if the Buffaloes can pull off the upset in Eugene, win out, and be impressive in the Pac-12 Tournament, a top-four seed could be in the cards for them.
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Oregon Ducks Still Regarded as Best Team in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball, but Bad Losses Mounting
Record: 18-6 (7-4 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Arizona, VS Seton Hall (Battle 4 Atlantis)
Bad losses: VS North Carolina (Battle 4 Atlantis), at Washington State, at Oregon State
The Ducks were the preseason pick to win the Pac-12. They were also the only team in the Pac-12 who was in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s Top 16 seeds as of right now. Oregon was listed as a 4-seed.
However, the Ducks received that seeding before losing to Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday night. This loss is the second bad conference road loss the Ducks have had. They have to show consistency on the road and defend home court to stay in position to obtain a top-four seed. Their first test defending home court will be Thursday against the conference-leading Colorado Buffaloes.
Arizona Wildcats: Inconsistency Caught Up to Them on Home Floor
Record: 16-7 (6-4 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Colorado, VS Illinois
Bad losses: VS St. John’s (Al Attles Classic), at Oregon State, VS UCLA
Arizona had only lost to Gonzaga on their home court before UCLA beat them by 13 points Saturday night. This loss is brutal for Arizona’s prospects of landing a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona needs to prove they can beat teams that they should beat, and their first test will be this Thursday when they are on the road to face California.
The Wildcats will have another opportunity to beat Oregon at home on February 22 after losing to them by one point in an overtime thriller in Eugene. If Arizona can win this game and perform well in the conference tournament, there could be an argument for them to be a top-four seed. Right now it looks like they are in line for a spot on the five or six line.
Stanford Cardinal Have to Possibly Navigate Next Few Games Without Oscar da Silva
Record: 16-7 (5-5 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Oregon
Bad losses: at California, VS Oregon State, at Utah
The Cardinal are 1-4 in their last five games. They have losses to California, Oregon State, Utah, and Colorado. However, they have a huge win against Oregon sandwiched in between two two-game losing streaks.
Stanford may be without big man Oscar da Silva for the foreseeable future after he suffered a head laceration. Oscar da Silva collided with Colorado forward Evan Battey in Saturday’s game, and had to get stitches because he was bleeding. The injury could have been worse, but luckily da Silva is “going to be okay,” according to Stanford spokesperson Zack Reynolds.
Stanford plays Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado each one more time before the conference tournament. They will probably have to win at least one of these three games to be ensured of a tournament selection, and they cannot have any more bad losses.
USC Trojans Need to Right Ship After Three-Game Losing Streak
Record: 17-7 (6-5 Pac-12)
Key Wins: VS LSU (Basketball Hall of Fame Classic), VS Stanford
Bad Losses: at Washington
USC is currently on a three-game losing streak. However, they are still being projected as a nine or ten seed in most brackets. The Trojans could add to their resume, as they still have a trip to Boulder to play Colorado and a home date with Arizona on their schedule. They are in the same boat as Stanford. If the Trojans can win one of these two games and have an admirable showing in the Pac-12 Tournament, they will probably make the tournament.
USC beat an LSU team that was undefeated in SEC play before losing two straight this past week. However, they have a stinker on their resume, as they lost by 32 points to the last-place team in the conference in Washington. It will be interesting to see how the committee judges this loss by the Trojans, because Washington was still with point guard Quade Green in this game. Green was ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the regular season after this game.
Team That Still Has Opportunities in 2020: Arizona State
15-8 (6-4 Pac-12)
Key Wins: VS Arizona, VS USC
Bad Losses: @ Washington State
Arizona State will probably be living life on the bubble until Selection Sunday on March 15. They are 5-1 in their last six games, with wins against Arizona and USC. If the Sun Devils can beat Stanford and USC and have a decent showing in the conference tournament, they can make an argument for being included in the field in March.
However, Arizona is the best win of the season for the Sun Devils. Washington State is their only truly bad loss, but beating Oregon will be more important for Arizona State than it will be for any other team playing them the rest of the way. Coupling an Oregon win with a run in the Pac-12 Tournament will make a decision on whether the Sun Devils should be in the tournament a tough one for the committee.
Rest of Teams in Pac-12 Need to Win 2020 Conference Tournament to Make the Field
Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, California, UCLA, and Utah all have to hope they can have a magical weekend in Las Vegas from March 11-14. All of these teams have beat at least one of the teams that are projected to be in the tournament. However, winning the conference tournament ensures an automatic berth into the tournament. With how the Pac-12 has been playing out, anything is possible in the tournament.
As of right now Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, and USC look like the five teams that will be representing Pac-12 Basketball in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. With how college basketball has been this season, there will probably be madness that occurs before March. It will be interesting to see if there is a team that can achieve consistency in a Pac-12 conference where consistency seems impossible. If the beginning of February college basketball has been any indication, the rest of the month will be crazy.