With Pac-10 play coming to a close, here is how we see the conference shaking out.
1. Washington: The Huskies have won three in a row and many feel that this could be the week they lock up the conference. If UW can sweep at Los Angeles, there is little reason to believe it is not the best team in the conference.
2. Arizona State: The question about what happens with a lackluster effort from James Harden still remains. However, that rarely happens. ASU will be major Washington fans this week, but will definitely need to beat the UA. A conference title is certainly not out of reach.
3. Arizona: Are the Wildcats the third best team in the conference? Who knows. However, the may be playing like the best and get this spot because of it. Nic Wise, Jordan Hill, and Chase Budinger have been dominant enough to be considered the best trio in the country.
4. UCLA: The Bruins have major questions, but you get the feeling it will turn tings around this week. As much as we like the Huskies, you just know that Ben Howland is angry and that in turn should lead to a complete effort from UCLA.
5. Cal: The Golden Bears have been somewhat quiet, but are putting together a fantastic season. Figuring it sweeps this weekend, Cal should be a lock for the tournament due in large part to the fantastic play of the guards.
6. USC: Something is wrong with the Trojans and it goes beyond injuries. The offense is struggling and the frustration spilled onto the court Sunday night with Tim Floyd's ejection. It seems SC will likely not make the tournament, but it could lead to Demar Derozan's return, which would lead to a run towards the conference title next season.
7. Stanford: Losers of two of their last three, the Cardinal could actually still make the tournament with some noise. The Furd needs to sweep this week, but even if it does not, the season should be considered an overall success.
8. Washington State: We knew this would be a rebuilding year and that is exactly what it is. Klay Thompson has been nice, but points are hard to come by and thus, so are wins.
9. Oregon State: Craig Robinson deserves credit for a solid season by OSU standards. However, this still has not been a very good team and does not deserve extra credit for having a decent season in a down conference.
10. Oregon: Goodbye Ernie Kent. The Ducks have been more than disappointing and there does not seem to be much hope coming in the immediate future.
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