We are starting to see some groupings in the Pac-12 basketball standings. Teams are clumping together in three tiers and the top teams finally play each other.
A true conference leader is about to emerge.
The Arizona Wildcats find themselves stuck in the conference’s large midsection. Can they pick up a couple road wins and climb back toward the top, or will they remain a consistently inconsistent win-one-lose-one team?
Arizona fans have good news if they want to watch the Cats try and bounce back, but bad news if they want to watch what could be the games that decide the Pac-12 race.
Here is the TWIT-Pac TV schedule (all times Arizona/Mountain). Happy channel hunting!
|Thu Jan 19||ARIZONA||Utah||6:30 p.m.||FSAZ|
|ASU||Colorado||6:30 p.m.||ROOT RM|
|Cal||Washington||6:30 p.m.||ROOT NW|
|USC||Oregon||6:30 p.m.||CSN NW|
|Sat Jan 21||UCLA||Oregon||2 p.m.||FSN|
|ARIZONA||Colorado||4 p.m.||FSAZ/ROOT RM|
|Stanford||Washington||4 p.m.||ROOT NW/CSN BA|
|USC||OSU||8:30 p.m.||ROOT NW/PT|
CSN BA = Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
CSN NW = Comcast SportsNet Northwest
FSAZ = Fox Sports Arizona
FSN = Fox Sports Net
PT = Prime Ticket
ROOT NW = Root Sports Northwest
ROOT RM = Root Sports Rocky Mountain
Thu. Jan. 19
ASU (6-11 / 2-3) at Colorado (11-6 / 3-2)
Would you believe that ASU is the third-best shooting team in the conference? The Sun Devils are not going to be as big a pushover as initially expected.
Cal (15-4 / 5-1) at Washington (11-6 / 4-1)
Game of the Year, part I. Washington will not be playing in the Bay Area this year so this game has a football-like feel to it. If the Huskies can hold serve at home this weekend they’ll be the new team to beat.
USC (5-13 / 0-5) at Oregon (13-5 / 4-2)
Oregon became the first Pac-12 team to sweep a road trip this year. The Ducks have the next three at home so now would be a good time to make a move toward that top spot.
Stanford (15-3 / 5-1) at WSU (9-8 / 1-4)
The Cardinal has Pac-12 wins by one, two, and three points. Is that a sign they’re overrated or the sign of a team that knows how to win?
UCLA (10-7 / 3-2) at OSU (11-7 / 1-5)
The Beavers are the anti-Stanford with a five-point loss and two defeats in overtime. This isn’t going to make them feel any better but they have to be the best 1-5 team in the country.
Sat. Jan. 21
UCLA at Oregon
The Bruins have quietly won three straight. If not for a one-point loss at Stanford they’d be in first place.
ASU at Utah
It’s a battle of teams that kicked their starting point guard off the team! ASU is actually down to its fourth point guard after academic ineligibility, disciplinary actions and injury.
ARIZONA at Colorado
As expected, the Buffaloes found Pac-12 life more difficult on the road. They’ll want to take advantage of these home games because after this weekend they’ll only have four games left in Boulder.
Cal at WSU
Washington State is canceling classes due to the snow but the game must go on. Bundle up, Coug fans!
Stanford at Washington
Game of the Year, part II. If Cal isn’t able to jump to the front of the line with a big road win, maybe Stanford can.
USC at OSU
The battle for last place ends here…at least until Utah and USC play next week.
* * *
Like an old bottle of Italian dressing, the Pac-12 is starting to separate. Cal, Stanford and Washington look like the contenders with Utah, WSU, OSU and USC in the basement. In the middle are Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, UCLA and ASU. I’m including the Devils because they’ve already beaten two teams from the bottom.
After Saturday’s game Arizona will have played everyone else in the middle (the Cats went 1-2 against ASU, UCLA and Oregon). The bad news is the UA hasn’t played anyone in the top tier yet.
That, however, is a problem for next week. This week the Cats need to maintain their energy level the entire game and take care of the ball. Efficiency will be key as Arizona has failed to hit 60 points in three of its five Pac-12 games thus far.
A couple wins in the snow would warm the heart of the team from the desert.
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