The Washington Huskies are coming to Arizona this week with the Pac-12 regular-season trophy pretty much already in hand.
Consider this history:
Washington is only the ninth team to go 9-0 through the first half of league play since the Pac-10 began an 18-game schedule in 1978-79. All eight previous teams to go 9-0 went on to win at least a share of the conference title.
What’s more, the Huskies are only one of four teams to have earned a three-game lead with that 9-0 record, joining Stanford of 2003-04, Arizona of 1992-93 and Arizona of 1987-88. All of those three previous teams went 17-1 and won the title by five or more games.
(The 1988 Wildcats went on to reach the Final Four but the 1993 team was shocked by Steve Nash and Santa Clara in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.)
All teams who have gone 9-0 to start Pac-10/12 play:
Oregon State 1980
Oregon State 1981
The Wildcats of 2016-17, however, led Oregon (8-1) by only a game at the midway point, and went on to tie Oregon at 16-2 for the regular-season title, then beat the Ducks in the Pac-12 Tournament final but were upset in the Sweet 16 by Xavier.
Washington, however, will make the Arizona trip with a major question mark, after Noah Dickerson sprained his ankle against UCLA on this play:
CBS’ updated bracket projections Monday had Washington a No. 7 in the West, ASU a No. 10 in the Midwest and UA one of the first four out. ESPN had UA one of the “next four out” teams, though that was updated last on Friday.
OSU's Tres Tinkle won the Pac-12 Player of the Week award after leading the Beavers in a sweep of the Mountain schools. He's now won the award in each of three seasons.
The Huskies didn’t make the AP Top 25 this week but finished with the 26th most overall votes, so a sweep in Arizona would almost certainly get them in.
FWIW, I had UW 22nd. Here was the ballot I submitted:
8 North Carolina
9 Michigan State
10 Virginia Tech
14 Texas Tech
16 Mississippi State
21 Iowa State