Nick Johnson point

The most important game of the year is the one right under your nose.
Photo by Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks only have one game this week and it’s against their bottom-feeding rivals. Arizona and UCLA, on the other hand, are headed for a high-stakes showdown on Saturday.

That is, if they can both survive tonight.

This Week in the Pac-12 (TWit-Pac) is a big week in the Pac-12. It’s the last time any of the tri-leaders in the conference go head-to-head. Here is where to watch them on TV (all times Arizona/Mountain):

Date Away Home Time TV
Wed Feb 27 ARIZONA USC 7:30 p.m. P12N
  Colorado Stanford 9 p.m. ESPN2
  ASU UCLA 9:30 p.m. P12N
Thu Feb 28 Utah Cal 7 p.m. ESPNU
  OSU Oregon 9 p.m. ESPNU
Sat Mar 2 ASU USC 1 p.m. FSN
  Colorado Cal 3 p.m. ESPNU
Sun Mar 3 WSU Washington 1:30 p.m. FSN
  Utah Stanford 3 p.m. P12N

More Wednesday games than Thursday games? What in the name of Tom Hansen is going on here?? Saturday brings two additional rarities: a UA game on a channel every Wildcat fan has and an ASU game that ends before David Letterman comes on.

The basketball games:

Wed. Feb. 27

ARIZONA (23-4 / 11-4) at USC (12-15 / 7-7)
The Wildcats better not even think about looking past USC because of how the game went last time. The Trojans are 4-2 since losing in Tucson. If they were an Oscar-winning movie they’d be “Cantu Unchained.”

Colorado (18-8 / 8-6) at Stanford (16-12 / 7-8)
After winning three of four against the Oregon and Arizona schools Stanford had entered the NCAA tournament discussion. But the Cardinal has lost three of four since to sink into the brackish water of the NIT pool.

ASU (20-8 / 9-6) at UCLA (20-7 / 10-4)
Hey! I got one right! I said UCLA would beat USC by 12 and the Bruins won by 16. Based on my poor track record that’s more than close enough to count as correct.

Thu. Feb. 28

Utah (11-15 / 3-11) at Cal (18-9 / 10-5)
The saga continues for the Most Interesting Team in the World. (No, not the Utes.)

OSU (13-15 / 3-12) at Oregon (22-6 / 11-4)
Joe Burton could produce a quadruple-double while wearing all of Mr. T’s gold and Oregon State would still lose this game.

Sat. Mar. 2

The Sun Devils are now squarely in the Bubble Out category after losing to Washington at home. ASU needs to beat USC and either UCLA or Arizona (all on the road) to get back in the Last Four In conversation.

Colorado at Cal
Two bubblicious teams that could really use a win against each other. Colorado has the better RPI (29) and strength of schedule (19) and Cal has the better wins (Arizona, UCLA and Oregon twice).

UCLA is the only team with a chance to beat Arizona twice in the regular season.

Sun. Mar. 3

WSU (11-17 / 2-13) at Washington (15-13 / 7-8)
The Huskies have won two of their last three and they still need to win out just to post a winning conference record. Not good times in Seattle.

Utah at Stanford
Utah has four chances to win once more and get to four Pac-12 victories for the first time in forever.

* * *

You would love to have the cushion to take a road split this week but the margin for error just isn’t there for the Wildcats. If UCLA beats ASU and Arizona I expect the Bruins to finish off their run against Wazzu and U-Dub next week to post that championship-worthy 14-4 record.

There is no more time to wait for improvement. USC, UCLA and ASU. Each game is for a Pac-12 title and you can’t win all three if you don’t win the first one.

Play defense, rebound, make free throws and grind out a road win. Then do it again three days later.

The Pac-12 championship won’t be clinched in Los Angeles this week but someone is going to be eliminated.

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Scott Terrell is ready for some do-or-die basketball. Prepare for battle on Twitter and Facebook.