Rafael Valenzuela

Rafael Valenzuela and the Wildcats are looking for help.
Photo by Pat Shannahan/The Arizona Republic

And down the stretch they come.

TWIT-Pac wishes there were a Pac-10 pennant race to follow these final two weeks of the regular season. But if you can’t have a tight battle at the top of the standings the next best thing is a bunch at the bottom of the postseason field.

The league’s eyes will be on the three 11-10 teams, the two 10-11 teams, and the one 9-12 team with signs of life. All six teams have a chance to play themselves into the Big Diamond Dance but two or three of them are going to come up short.

Let’s see who is playing where, and what the best possible outcomes are from a Wildcat point of view. The average rankings are from here.

#24.2 Oregon (35-18 / 10-11) at Washington (26-24 / 9-12)
The Ducks have won five straight since getting swept by OSU, but none were against a Pac-10 team.

Who do the Wildcats want to win?
Washington. Scoreboard watching begins in earnest. The Huskies shocked Stanford three weeks ago. Maybe they can take out another tournament contender this week.

OSU (27-19 / 9-12) at #3.0 ASU (43-6 / 16-5)
Friday and Saturday’s games will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Arizona. Two ranked teams in the state including a consensus top-5 team all year and FSAZ finally gets around to sticking a couple games on TV. They couldn’t bump the 27th showing of “In My Own Words: Mark Reynolds” last weekend?

Who do the Wildcats want to win?
Let’s see if we can find a way that ASU does not win the Pac-10 championship. If the Devils lose two of three to both OSU and Stanford it gives them nine losses. That means UCLA would have to win five out of six against Cal and WSU just to tie. Neither of those scenarios is likely. Cat fans should root for Tempe to crush the Beavers’ tournament dreams.

#30.8 Stanford (28-20 / 11-10) at #28.2 ARIZONA (31-18 / 10-11)
The Cardinal has lost five of its last six conference games. The Cats have lost six of their last nine league games. Someone will get better at just the right time.

Who do the Wildcats want to win?
Your Now-Or-Never Wildcats. More on them in a moment.

Be the broom.

Be the broom.
Photo by David Kadlubowski/The Arizona Republic

#9.4 UCLA (38-11 / 13-8)
at #29.8 Cal (27-19 / 11-10)
The Bruins are 18-4 this year against schools in the state of California.

Who do the Wildcats want to win?
UCLA. Hopefully Cal continues its sweep-or-be-swept ways, and the Bears wind up on the straw end of the broom this week.

USC (25-28 / 5-16)
at #26.8 WSU (28-18 / 11-10)
The Cougars are 9-4 since being swept by Arizona and have landed in the top 25 as a result.

Who do the Wildcats want to win?
USC. The Trojans have been feistier of late but they haven’t won a road series since March.

The Arizona/Stanford series is the most intriguing one because it’s the only head-to-head battle between Pac-10 bubble teams. Friday and Saturday’s games are at 6 p.m. at Kindall/Sancet and Sunday’s is at high noon.

Arizona’s goal is simple: Win game one. The Wildcats have not won a series all year in which they’ve lost the first game. It’s not a coincidence that the UA has struggled over a four-week stretch in which it’s failed to win any of Kurt Heyer’s starts.

Friday night’s game is monstrous. You could argue it’s THE most important game of the entire season for the Cats. And I think we just did.