Nearing the midpoint of the season, there are still plenty of games left, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the Pac-12 to change what looks to be a slim number of teams advancing to the NCAA tournament.

Share story

By now you’ve heard the Pac-12 performed a historically spectacular pratfall in college football bowl games.

Utah produced the lone victory in the conference’s dismal 1-8 performance — the worst postseason record by a league — that has many contemplating how the Pac-12 can restore a product that pales in comparison to the rest of the major conferences.

Meanwhile, the situation isn’t as dire on the men’s basketball side of things, but the Pac-12 didn’t exactly set itself up for success in March following a mediocre showing in nonconference matchups.

Against ranked teams, the Pac-12 went 6-9 against the other Power Six conferences (Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Southeastern and Atlantic Coast).

Most Read Sports Stories

Unlimited Digital Access: $1 for 4 weeks

Only the SEC, which went 6-11, had a poorer showing.

Nearing the midpoint of the season, there are still plenty of games left, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the Pac-12 to change what looks to be a slim number of teams advancing to the NCAA tournament.

No. 4 Arizona State and No. 14 Arizona are the only Pac-12 teams in The Associated Press Top 25. And UCLA was the only other team to receive votes.

ESPN’s Andy Katz included all three among his projections of teams that will receive one of the 36 at-large bids to the Big Dance.

Still, others project an even dourer forecast for the Pac-12.

ESPN’s bracket guru Joe Lunardi includes just Arizona and Arizona State among his 68-team field.

If Lunardi is right, it would be the fewest Pac-12 teams in the NCAA tournament since 2012, when Washington won the regular-season league title with a 14-4 record.

The Huskies sat at 21-10 on Selection Sunday, but they became the first regular-season winner from a major conference not included in the NCAA tournament.

A look at the RPI reveals just three Pac-12 teams (ASU, Arizona and Utah) among the top 34. That’s not to suggest USC, UCLA and Oregon — NCAA tournament teams last year — or anyone else can’t make a run and receive an at-large berth.

But the odds are stacked against them.

Sun Devils finally lose

The 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers’ record is safe for another year.

Last Saturday, the nation’s three remaining undefeated teams (Villanova, Texas Christian and Arizona State) each lost, and technically the Sun Devils were the last undefeated team following an 84-78 defeat at No. 14 Arizona at night.

Previously, 40 of the 42 last unbeaten teams from a season advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Clemson started 17-0 and finished 25-11 in the NIT in 2007. Meanwhile, Southern Methodist began 18-0 in 2015-16 and finished 25-5, but was ineligible from participating in the postseason.

Notes

• California and Stanford entered their conference opener below .500 last week, which was the first time both teams had losing records before league play since 1971-72.

• Washington State lives and dies by the perimeter shot. The Cougars attempt 31 three-pointers a game. WSU, which shoots 39.2 percent on threes, took a season-high 46 against Texas Southern.

• Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle is shooting 94.1 percent (32 of 34) from the free-throw line in the past seven games. He’s made 23 consecutive free throws in the past four games.

Percy Allen’s Pac-12 power rankings

Team
Comment
Up next

1. Arizona (11-3, 1-0)
Preseason Pac-12 favorite is again looking like the best team following a convincing victory over Arizona State.
At Utah

2. Arizona State (12-1, 0-1)
Tra Holder, the 6-1 senior guard, has three (40, 35 and 31) of the Pac-12’s seven highest-scoring performances this season.
At Colorado

3. Utah (10-3, 2-0)
Biggest surprise of the week was when the Utes traveled to the Northwest to knock off Oregon and hung on to defeat Oregon State.
Arizona

4. UCLA (11-3, 2-0)
Finished a 2-0 opening weekend in the Pac-12 with a brilliant second-half performance against Washington.
At Stanford

5. Washington (11-4, 1-1)
What happened at UCLA? Still, upsetting USC in its Pac-12 road opener keeps UW in good position for a postseason tournament bid.
At WSU

6. USC (10-5, 1-1)
Picked second in the preseason poll, the Trojans have been the conference’s biggest disappointment so far.
At California

7. Oregon (11-4, 1-1)
Had its 25-game home winning streak against conference teams snapped with a 66-56 defeat against Utah.
At Oregon St.

8. California (7-7, 1-0)
Overcoming a 17-point deficit in the second half for a road victory over Stanford is a nice way to start the Pac-12.
USC

9. Oregon State (9-5, 1-1)
Already eclipsed victory total from last year for the entire season, and tied its Pac-12 mark.
Oregon

10. Washington State (8-6, 0-2)
Didn’t put up much of a fight in defeats at USC and UCLA. Since their 6-0 start, the Cougars are 2-6.
Washington

11. Colorado (8-6, 0-2)
Lost at Oregon and Oregon State by a combined 17 points, which was the highest margin in the Pac-12.
Arizona State

12. Stanford (6-8, 0-1)
Cardinal blew a 17-point lead at home against California. Stanford ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring (72.9).
UCLA