Each of the three squads tied for first in the standings – Arizona, Oregon and UCLA – had opportunities to distance themselves from the rest of the league, only to come up short at inopportune times in recent weeks.
With such little space separating the top eight teams in the Pac-12, the final month becomes very crucial for the majority of the league. Here is how the teams rank as the important stretch approaches.
The Wildcats retain the top spot in conference despite their recent home loss to Cal. Oregon's recent struggles (as well as UCLA's) prevent either of those programs from leapfrogging Arizona in this week's rankings, but UA's loss to the Golden Bears makes the race much more interesting.
The Wildcats had a chance to move into the driver's seat, but now there are five squads within two games of the three teams tied for first place.
Losers of three straight before righting the ship against Utah, the Ducks are struggling and are in danger of falling behind both Arizona and UCLA without Dominic Artis on the floor. If Oregon can regain its star freshman, it has as good of a shot as anyone to win the conference.
Without him, however, the Ducks likely fall out of the race. They will get an update regarding his status this week and UO is praying the news is favorable.
While the Bruins won both of their games last week, victories over two struggling schools from Washington are only enough to propel them to third in this week's rankings. UCLA continues to play inconsistently, but was able to move into a tie for first place after both Oregon and Arizona dropped games.
It's a crucial week for UCLA as it goes on the road to face the bay area squads, both of whom have been playing much better basketball in recent weeks. If the Bruins can come out of this week with another sweep, it will put them in good position down the stretch given their remaining schedule.
Don't look now, but CU is making a bit of a run at the moment. After struggling during the early portion of the Pac-12 slate, the Buffaloes have won five out of their last six games and now stand just two games out of first place. Their loss to Utah certainly stings, but it doesn't take away from the fact that CU is rolling at the right time.
Last week's road victory over Oregon showed that Colorado doesn't intend on going away just yet and could be a very dangerous squad down the stretch.
5. Arizona State
The Sun Devils split a pair at home against the Bay Area schools and have now lost two of their last three games. ASU has an important road trip this week, which concludes with a game against red-hot Colorado, and then still have to face UCLA and Arizona on the road in coming weeks. Arizona State needs to right the ship quickly or risk falling out of the race.
The Golden Bears may have defeated Arizona on Sunday, but their loss to Arizona State earlier in the week prevents a move ahead of ASU. Combine that with the way UCLA and Colorado played last week and Cal actually drops a spot in this week's edition.
That doesn't mean that California is no longer a team to watch in the Pac-12 race. The Bears' victory over Arizona was impressive and it comes just a week after defeating Oregon. With the way Allen Crabbe is playing, Cal could conceivably make a run down stretch as it stands just two games out of the conference lead.
After splitting a pair last week, the Cardinal stand at 6-5 in conference play. Just a couple of weeks ago, Stanford appeared to be dead in the water, but after picking up four wins in five games, Stanford is hoping to make some noise down the stretch. With four out of their final seven at home, the Cardinal have a shot at obtaining a good seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.
The Trojans have proven to be much better in conference play than they were before the Pac-12 schedule started. Their overall record will likely prevent them from earning a trip to the big dance, but they certainly appear to be a very dangerous squad at this point in time and are going to be a tough team for anyone to defeat in the coming weeks.
The Huskies have completely fallen apart, losing six of their last seven games after starting out 4-0 against Pac-12 competition. After losing to both Los Angeles schools last week, UW's postseason chances appear to have vanished barring a big run in the conference tournament.
10. Oregon State
The Beavers have two wins in Pac-12 play and both have come against squads that are currently under .500 against conference foes. OSU was finally able to pick up that second victory last week by blowing out lowly Utah and will look to finish the season strong with a few winnable games remaining on the schedule.
The Utes had a shot to defeat Oregon on the road last week, but ultimately blew an eight-point halftime lead and lost the game. While Utah's postseason chances are slim-to-none, a victory over UO would have been something to build off of, but the Utes lost another game they could have just as easily won if they had competed for a full 40 minutes.
12. Washington State
Losers of four straight, Wazzu reclaims the last spot in this week's rankings. The Cougars cannot seem to compete right now and it will be tough for them to win any of their remaining games, including the upcoming matchup against Oregon State.