The Pac-12 announced their pairings for the 2017-18 Men’s Basketball season this afternoon. The pairings do not include specific dates or times but they do tell what week each team will be making each road trip and who each team dodges. Game 1 of each 2 game set will be played some time Wednesday-Friday and Game 2 will be played on Saturday or Sunday of that week. Here’s the schedule:
For those unaware, the Pac-12 plays 18 conference games which means that Washington plays 4 of the 11 other schools once and all the others both home and away. Those misses are split evenly between home and road so that each team has the same number of conference home games unlike for football. The big takeaway from this schedule is that the UW will not be playing at Arizona and Arizona State and will miss UCLA and USC here at Hec-Ed.
Arizona, UCLA, and USC (along with Oregon) will almost certainly comprise the preseason top-4 in the conference next season and so only having to play those schools once could be worth an extra 2 wins next season. This past season, UW was denied the chance to play the numbers 1, 6, 9, and 12 in the conference. Finishing 4-14 instead of 2-16 isn’t a huge deal but this schedule could be the difference between finishing 7-11 and 9-9 which would greatly change the perception around the program. If we used last season’s final standings it means that UW will be dodging home games against 3 and 5 and road games against 2 and 8.
Some other notes about the schedule:
- The Dawgs will open the season with 3 straight and 5 of 7 road games including what could be 2 of the 3 hardest games they play all season during the L.A trip. If Coach Hop gets off to a slow Pac-12 start it will be understandable. Conversely, going 2-1 and then 4-3 in that stretch will start the gears turning for folks to imagine a miraculous 1st year tourney berth.
- That opening road trip to the L.A schools is the only time they play all season. UCLA lost 5 of their 8 rotation players from last season so catching them early may not be a bad thing. Meanwhile, USC returns all 8 of their top rotation players from last season so they should be running smoothly by then.
You can follow me @UWDP_maxvroom