BUBBLE WATCH: Pac-12 has lot of work to do for NCAA bids

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley reacts after getting a technical foul called against him during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The way the Pac-12 race is playing out, the conference will need Washington to lose in the conference tournament to ensure a second team gets in the NCAA Tournament field via the automatic bid.

ASU's win over Washington helped the Sun Devils keep amassing what is still the conference's best collection of wins, but ASU has also stumbled notably in home losses to Princeton, Utah and Washington State.

The updated NET numbers through Sunday's game reflect that only Washington (31) is in safe territory, and ASU (72) has the big wins that could help it overcome its rating. Oregon (70) is also striking distance with a strong late-season finish, though Colorado (80) and UA (84) might need to run the table and then beat Washington and/or ASU in the Pac-12 Tournament to have any shot via the at-large route.

CBS' Bracketology has both Washington (8) and ASU (11) in the field, with Oregon one of its first four out.

The Pac-12 received only two bids in 2011-12, when Colorado captured the Pac-12 Tournament by surprise (the Buffs beat UA in the final that season to complete their four-game run) and Cal received an at-large bid but conference champion Washington did not get in that season.


The current Buffs picked up some significant momentum in Los Angeles last weekend. They celebrated their win over USC, with coach Tad Boyle telling them "we're getting better. You can feel it, you can see it, you can sense it."

Carlon Brown, the MVP of the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament, joined the celebration while wearing his championship ring. Boyle said "I want you guys to get one!"


Grand Canyon is one notch below Arizona at 85 in the NET ratings, while the Antelopes are four spots ahead of UA in KenPom at 81.


WSU's Robert Franks won Pac-12 and NCAA.com player of the week awards after averaging 32.5 points in the Cougars' sweep through Arizona.

Other nominees for the Pac-12 award: Utah's Parker Van Dyke, who scored 15 points, including the game-winning 3, in the Utes' comeback win at UCLA, and McKinley Wright, who led CU's second-ever Pac-12 sweep (16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists).


Washington picked up the 29th most votes in the AP Top 25, which again lacks a Pac-12 representative. 

Tennessee held on to its top spot despite Duke's win at Virginia, which made it a difficult call.

FWIW, I kept Tennessee at No. 1 on my AP ballot: 

1 Tennessee

2 Duke

3 Gonzaga

4 Virginia

5 Michigan

6 Kentucky

7 Nevada

8 North Carolina

9 Michigan State

10 Houston

11 Purdue

12 Kansas

13 Texas Tech

14 Marquette

15 Villanova

16 Virginia Tech

17 Louisville

18 Iowa

19 Kansas State

20 Wisconsin

21 LSU

22 FSU

23 Iowa State

24 Maryland

25 Buffalo