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Pac-12 Basketball 12 Pac: 12 Reasons It Was a Bad Week for the Conference

Upsets can be fun, but they can also do some serious damage.


1. The Pac-12 desperately needs a second team to step up as a power this year: Arizona has now clearly established themselves as the top team in the conference and as the team that can hang with the big boys of college basketball this year, but the conference really needs another team to join them to be taken seriously. Oregon was that team before last weekend and UCLA and Arizona State were on the cusp, but have now fallen off.

2. Love them or hate them, having Oregon be a power would be very good for the conference: For many fans of non-Duck schools in the Pac-12, it was probably gleeful to watch Stanford dismantle the Ducks and then Cal hang on to give them two-straight losses. However, the truth is that with their Nike connections and exposure, the Ducks are a potential sleeping giant that the country would pay attention to if they can become a consistent power and that would be really good for the conference.

3. UCLA and Arizona State are on the bubble: I think both teams would be in the tournament if it started today, but UCLA's loss to USC and Arizona State's to Washington officially makes that status iffy. These two teams don't have much margin for error going forward now.

4. Cal, Stanford, Washington, Utah and USC aren't yet tourney contenders: All four teams that pulled upsets have very, very tall mountains to climb to get into the NCAA Tournament, and while last weekend's wins boosted their stocks, most can't lose more than a few games the rest of the way to have even a prayer for an at-large bid.

5. Colorado hasn't turned the corner: The Buffs looked like they might be returning to being the strong team that they were before conference play and a serious tourney contender, but the horrifying loss to Utah sent them tumbling back down the standings and searching for answers.

6. The Pac-12 could really use a consistent UCLA: The Bruins already have one of the most recognizable programs in the country, it's not about building anything, they just have to win consistently and people will care, but apparently that isn't very easy in Westwood these days.

7. The middle is getting too strong again: Post-season play has been frustrating for Pac-12 fans in recent years as the conference struggles to get even a single team into the tournament, but loads up the NIT, CBI, CIT and etc... with teams hovering around 500. The conference would be better served with a strong upper-level than a strong mid-level.

8. The bottom is getting too strong again: Sure it is fun to see teams like Utah and Oregon State grab upsets, but outside of that little bit of fun, it doesn't really accomplish much and drags other teams down nationally.

9. There is only one Pac-12 team in the Top 10 now: Having two teams in the national college basketball conversation was fun while it lasted I guess.

10. No one cares: One of the big problems with the upsets is that people don't really even notice or watch the games, they just see the scores and records and assume that it is the same old Pac-12.

Okay, it can't all be bad. There were a couple good things from the weekend.

11. Arizona survived: The cream of the Pac-12 crop remained unscathed despite a tough test at Washington and still are hovering near the Top 5.

12. Stanford, Cal and Washington all showed signs of life: They may not be truly on the bubble yet, but the Bay Area's schools' sweep against the Oregon schools and the Huskies win over Arizona State keeps them alive for a second-half run at an tournament birth.