Another wild Pac-12 night helps Wildcats

2013-03-07T01:35:00Z 2013-03-07T12:30:23Z Another wild Pac-12 night helps WildcatsBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 07, 2013 1:35 am  • 

The results of Pac-12 play couldn't have been better for the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday.

While the Wildcats will still be a No. 4 Pac-12 Tournament seed if they beat ASU on Saturday -- or if Colorado loses to either Oregon or OSU -- the results of Wednesday's games all helped UA somewhat.

The Wildcats are more likely to receive a first-round Pac-12 Tournament bye, even if they lose to ASU, and their chance of sharing first place remains mathematically alive.

The breakdown:

-- Washington beat USC. That pushes the Trojans two games back of UA, meaning they can't tie with the Wildcats even if they beat WSU and UA loses to ASU. (And UA would have lost a tiebreaker with USC if they both tied for fifth place, making the Wildcats play a first-round game on Wednesday in Las Vegas.)

Now the Wildcats can only fall into a first-round game if they lose to ASU and Colorado beats both Oregon and Oregon State (UA would lose that tiebreaker because the Buffs have beaten Cal and UCLA -- after head-to-head play, ties are broken by determining who has the best record against the top team in the league, on down until the tie is broken).

-- UCLA lost at WSU for the first time in 20 games, setting the Bruins a game behind Oregon in the loss column. With another loss on Saturday at Washington, UCLA would fall into a tie with Arizona if UA beats ASU. That wouldn't help UA's Pac-12 seeding any but the Wildcats would be able to finish in at least a three-way tie for second instead of in fourth.

-- Stanford won at Cal, snapping the Bears' seven-game win streak. That pushed Cal into a loss-column tie with Arizona, where the Bears are now finished with regular-season play at 12-6.

So the Wildcats can now land in at least third-place tie if they beat ASU. It's a three-way tie for second if UA beats ASU and Washington beats UCLA.

The Bears can only get a share of the league title if the Pac-12 ends up in a three- or four-way tie for first. That happens if Oregon loses to both Colorado and Utah, and UCLA loses at Washington. 

If all that actually occurs, and UA beats ASU, there would be a four-way tie for first at 12-6. But the Wildcats would still be the No. 4 seed in that scenario since they have not beaten any of the other three teams.

--

Meanwhile, the UCLA loss means Oregon can clinch a share of the title tonight at Colorado (7 p.m., ESPNU) and a weekend sweep of the Rocky Mountain schools would give the Ducks the outright crown. But the way this conference is going, that's a lot to ask of Oregon...

Worth noting: If the Ducks do win tonight, that assures UA of a No. 4 seed and a first-round bye regardless of how it does against ASU.

Bottom line:

-- UA gets a No. 4 seed if it beats ASU, or if Colorado loses to either Oregon or OSU.

As a No. 4 seed, UA's first game would be Thursday at about 2:30 p.m. (PT and Arizona times are the same next week) against the winner of the 5-12 game Wednesday (as of now that would be Colorado or WSU).

-- UA gets a No. 5 seed if it loses to ASU and Colorado sweeps. In that case, the Wildcats end up tied with the Buffs for fourth place but UA loses the tiebreaker because the Buffs would have beaten Cal, Oregon and UCLA.

As a No. 5 seed, UA's first game would be Wednesday at about 2:30 p.m. (against WSU as of now). If the Wildcats win that, again, Colorado would be next.

A rubber match with the Buffs could generate plenty of interest: UA beat Colorado on Jan. 3 in the infamous Sabatino Chen no-shot game, and lost badly at Colorado on Feb. 14.

 

 

 

 

 

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