The race for Pac-12 regular season title went from extremely tight to blown wide open in just a few hours last Saturday.
Arizona, which had lost at home to UCLA on Thursday, bounced back with an impressive win over USC to hold onto control of first place. That, combined with losses by UCLA (at Arizona State) and Washington (at Oregon State) gave the Wildcats a two-game lead in the loss column with only five to go.
And with the four closest challengers—UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington—having only one remaining game against Arizona, they’ll need to keep winning and get some help elsewhere in order to catch the Wildcats. It’s not impossible, but as it stands the real race is for second place.
This weekend could have a big say in that since there are five games involving the eight teams who are separated by one game in the standings.
What’s in store for the eighth week of competition? Check out our breakdown of the 10 games on tap for Thursday through Sunday.
|Team||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
Week 8 Schedule
No. 17 Arizona at No. 25 Arizona State, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN)
Oregon at USC, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN2)
Utah at Washington, 6 p.m. PT (Pac-12 Network)
Oregon State at UCLA, 8 p.m. PT (Fox Sports 1)
Colorado at Washington State, 8 p.m. PT (Pac-12 Network)
Colorado at Washington, 5 p.m. PT (Pac-12 Network)
Utah at Washington State, 7 p.m. PT (ESPN2)
Oregon at UCLA, 7:15 p.m. PT (ESPN)
Oregon State at USC, 8 p.m. PT (Fox Sports 1)
Stanford at California, 5 p.m. PT (ESPNU)
Game of the Week
Oregon at UCLA
When they last met on Jan. 20 in Eugene, Oregon held on for a 94-91 victory over UCLA after the Bruins rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to make a game of it. That started a 5-1 stretch for the Ducks as they are making their tradition February push under coach Dana Altman.
Oregon is 40-15 in February in the past eight seasons, but three of those losses have been at UCLA including last season.
Players to Watch
F David Collette, Utah
David Collette is 13 points shy of 1,000 for his career, getting closer to that milestone after scoring 31 points on 15-of-16 shooting in a home sweep of the Bay Area schools. The 6-foot-8 senior forward is shooting 60.8 percent from the field, second only to Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks (63.9) in the Pac-12, and in league play he’s shooting 62.5 percent.
G Tra Holder, Arizona State
Tra Holder didn’t shoot well last weekend at home against the Los Angeles schools, going 12 of 34 from the field and 3 of 13 from 3-point range. Yet the 6-foot-1 senior guard sure was money when it mattered most, helping Arizona State rally from 10 down in the final minutes to beat USC and then complete the sweep against UCLA. He heads into Thursday’s clash with rival Arizona averaging 15.7 points per game in the series including 31 in the Dec. 30 loss in Tucson.
F Tres Tinkle, Oregon State
It was Stephen Thompson Jr. that hit the game-winning shot to beat Washington in double overtime on Saturday but the Beavers wouldn’t have been in the game without Tres Tinkle. The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in that 97-94 victory to follow up a 20-point performance against Washington State two days earlier. Those efforts earned him Pac-12 player of the week honors.
Stat of the Week
73: Blocks this season by Oregon’s Kenny Wooten, which is tied for third-most in Pac-12 history among freshmen. He has 20 more blocks than anyone else in the conference and he ranks 10 th in the nation.
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