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The Winner of the Pac-12 Is...Good Question

Up and down play in the conference makes the Pac-12 hard to read

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NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Many people like to predict the endings of things. Then there is the Pac-12 basketball conference. Trying to predict the ending of the Pac-12 men’s basketball season is becoming almost impossible. I think you might be better off just throwing a dart at a dartboard right now.

Just when I think Arizona has gained a bit of control over the conference, they decide to lay an egg against UCLA. Then the Wildcats end up beating USC.

Arizona State came out of the gates 12-0, but the Pac-12 Conference play hasn’t been kind to the Sun Devils. They beat UCLA pretty soundly on Saturday evening, but get beat by unranked Oregon and Utah at home. They also struggled with Oregon State before coming back to win.

USC is a talented team. I thought they had a pretty good shot at winning the conference, but once again, inconsistency rears it’s head. Lose to Stanford. Lose to Washington. Get swept by the Arizona schools.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA goes to the McKale Center and beats down Arizona in front of national television audience. The Bruins head up the I-10 and get dropped by the Sun Devils. UCLA beats Washington, loses to Stanford, beats USC, loses to Oregon State, loses to Oregon, loses to Colorado, and leave Bruin fans playing drinking games about their season.

If you look at the standings in the Pac-12 you see Arizona at the top, but then you see a mess of teams with all about the same record. USC and UCLA are tied for second. Washington, Oregon, Colorado come next and then Stanford, Utah, and Arizona State round out the teams that could pull a shocker and win the Pac-12.

For the moment, Arizona controls their destiny with winning the conference, but the Wildcats have their Territorial Cup game with the Sun Devils on Thursday night. It’ll be a packed house at Wells Fargo Arena for the Sun Devils who will be looking to send a message to the Wildcats. Anything can happen in a rivalry game.

UCLA and USC have the Oregon schools next. Both the Trojans and Bruins will be looking to get a sweep to keep pace with any slip up by Arizona.

Oregon, who is in the middle of the conference, needs to get some separation to make a case for an NCAA Tournament berth. The Ducks beat Washington on Thursday and need the sweep with the Washington schools to keep themselves peaking toward the conference tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State has struggled with conference play thus far. The Sun Devils got their first season sweep with head coach Bobby Hurley, but have been up and down during much of conference play. The Sun Devils play their rival this week and need another signature win to really solidify their NCAA Tournament berth. The Devils are finally above .500 in conference and like everybody else caught in the middle of the Pac-12 need to starting stringing wins together to separate themselves from the cluster.

Washington has made things more difficult for themselves with their recent sweep by the Oregon schools. The Huskies have to rebound this upcoming weekend against Colorado and Utah at home. The next two out of three weekends are weekend home series. The schedule works in their favor to make a run, but getting swept by the Oregon schools certainly hurt their chances at the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, Arizona is in the conference lead, but by no means are the Wildcats safe in first place. Anything can happen, and as the Pac-12 has shown in the past, anything can and will happen.

The conference tournament in Las Vegas looks like it could be a classic Pac-12 After Dark kind of tourney.

Enjoy the home stretch of games because it is going to be interesting. Get the dartboard ready!