Pac-12 Basketball: Arizona and UCLA Rivalry Returns

Arizona and UCLA battle it out as West Coast heavyweights once again. - Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Our early week slate will be highlighted by UCLA's visit to Tucson but I think the most intriguing game, certainly the one with the most post-season ramifications, will be the Stanford-Colorado game. These two need to win a lot more games than they lose down the stretch and both need this one. Game on.

Things are starting to take shape in the Pac-12 as Oregon is the definitive leader with wins over the next two contenders. The first few games of this weekend present some traps and not a ton by way of story lines but it should be mentioned, when will Oregon State get that first W?

Wednesday

Washington State @ Oregon, 630pm, P12N: The 6-0 Oregon Ducks are going to lose a conference game this season. It will not be tonight. They're playing the best ball in the conference and they're returning home from an exhilarating road trip to what I expect to be a growing crowd in Matt Knight as we continue to approach March. Speaking of which, March will mark the end of Brock Motum's career so I think I'll make an effort to mention him in any WSU post moving forward. Brock Motum.

Washington @ Oregon State, 830pm, P12N: I guess I'm most curious as to whether or not Washington wants to get into the business of dolling out first conference wins. They sure had no problem hosting Utah's first victory so why not play guest as Oregon State garners theirs? Joking aside, I can't see Washington dropping two straight to nominal opponents. I also can't see Oregon State dropping to 0-6 as the team that was once a solid 9-2. I don't know what's going to give but I hope Craig doesn't have as big of an Inauguration hangover as me.

Thursday

Cal @ Utah, 530pm, P12N: The Utes, for all their close calls and good efforts, finally got that win. Could it snow ball for them? I mean, they are returning to the friendly confines with the confidence of a victor. And Cal is really hard to figure out. Allen Crabbe is tremendous but if he and/or Justin Cobbs get cold on the Ski Trip, it could really haunt them.

UCLA @ Arizona, 6pm, ESPN2: Big time. The Pac takes center stage and the two heralded recruiting classes lauded as returning the conference to Western glory will finally face off. This one should be fun. The Cats are coming off one of their biggest wins of the year, asserting themselves as the bullies many have expecting them to be, and took the Sun Devils to task. The Bruins, conversely, hit the road reeling from their first conference loss.

Stanford @ Colorado, 7pm, ESPNU: Now here's a game with some underlying spice. While Arizona and UCLA has some appeal as a heavyweight bout, both teams could ultimately take a loss and roll right on to a successful year. Between these two, they've positioned themselves to spend every single game the rest of the way as a close-to-must-win. Colorado is 2-4 and Stanford is 2-3. It's an uphill battle from here.

USC @ ASU, 730pm, P12N: I think that we should call them the USC Trapjans. From here on out, Cantu's boys are easily overlooked. But probably shouldn't be. As for ASU, their loss to Arizona didn't shed too much light on whether or not they are pretenders or contenders. Beating USC at home, however, would go a long way in announcing to the conference that the Devils are for real.

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