There are only 10 games left on the Pac-12 regular season schedule. That means that we’re close enough that the conference tournament standings are worth examining. At this point there are essentially four tiers to the conference. Arizona and USC will almost certainly be 1-2. Stanford, Utah, UCLA, UW, and Oregon will all fall somewhere between 3rd and 7th. ASU, OSU, and Colorado will make up spots 8-10. And Wazzu and Cal are locked in to the last few spots. Here is the percentage chance each team falls within each spot. The percentages are based off of KenPom percentage projections which aren’t infallible but are as good as any estimate out there.
1. Arizona Wildcats- Current Standing 1st, 12-4
Possible Finishes: 1st- 99.66%, 2nd- 0.34%
Average Finish: 1.00
Arizona just has to win one of their remaining two games (including a home game against Cal) to clinch 1st place in the conference (or have USC lose at home to UCLA). However, their percentages are likely lower since they don’t take into account the loss of Allonzo Trier or Sean Miller. Even with those included it still is above 95% though.
2. USC Trojans- Current Standing 2nd, 12-5
Possible Finishes: 1st- 0.34%, 2nd- 98.54%, 3rd- 1.12%
Average Finish: 2.01
The Trojans clinch at least 2nd place if they beat UCLA on Saturday. They only get 1st place if they win and Arizona loses both of their games which is pretty unlikely. They drop to 3rd only if they lose and Stanford sweeps the Arizona schools on the road.
3. Utah Utes- Current Standing 5th, 10-7
Possible Finishes: 3rd- 67.04%, 4th- 21.69%, 5th- 8.48%, 6th- 2.79%
Average Finish: 3.47
If Utah wins their last game they clinch at least 5th but the most likely scenario is for them to end up 3rd. They lose a straight up tiebreaker with UCLA but win one with Stanford. However, they win almost all 3 team ties which gives them an edge in a 3-7 spot that is likely to involve a few ties. They get the advantage of having the easiest remaining slate with just a home game against Colorado.
4. Stanford Cardinal- Current Standing 3rd, 10-6
Possible Finishes: 2nd- 1.12%, 3rd- 13.56%, 4th- 18.52%, 5th- 45.45%, 6th- 21.35%
Average Finish: 4.72
The nice thing for Stanford is they control their own destiny for a 1st round bye. If they sweep the Arizona schools they can’t finish any lower than 3rd and could move up to 2nd. However, drop even one of them and they could fall as low as 6th.
5. UCLA Bruins- Current Standing 4th, 10-7
Possible Finishes: 3rd- 11.48%, 4th- 30.26%, 5th- 21.74%, 6th- 36.52%
Average Finish: 4.83
UCLA holds a straight up tiebreaker with both Stanford and Utah which helps them out in scenarios where they win. However, they actually end up finishing 2nd in most 3-way ties which is part of why they don’t finish 3rd as often as the ones above them. They also have a tougher final game than Utah having to go to USC.
6. Washington Huskies- Current Standing 7th, 9-7
Possible Finishes: 3rd- 3.53%, 4th- 15.32%, 5th- 12.66%, 6th- 18.33%, 7th- 50.16%
Average Finish- 5.96
The Huskies still have almost a 1 in 5 chance of getting a first round bye in the conference tournament which will happen if they win out and two of Utah/UCLA/Stanford lose out. The real goal is to at least get to 6th place. That means you either get a bye or get to play Cal/Wazzu in the conference tournament. Washington loses a tiebreaker against every other team that they could end up tied with in the top-7 (0-6 right now against Stanford/Utah/UCLA/Oregon with one game pending).
7. Oregon Ducks- Current Standing 6th, 9-7
Possible Finishes: 3rd- 3.27%, 4th- 15.32%, 5th- 12.66%, 6th- 18.33%, 7th- 49.84%
Average Finish: 5.96
Oregon is in almost the exact same position as the Huskies. In the vast majority of scenarios, the team that loses the Saturday Oregon/UW tilt ends up in 7th place and has to play a serious opponent in the 1st round of the conference tournament. No matter what happens, one of either UW or Oregon will be in 7th while the other could be anywhere from 3rd to 6th. Oregon also loses tiebreakers to the Utah/Stanford/UCLA trio.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils- Current Standing 9th, 7-9
Possible Finishes: 8th- 62.04%, 9th- 37.8%, 10th- 0.15%
Average Finish: 8.38
The Sun Devils lose all tiebreakers against both UW and Oregon so their ceiling is to finish 8th. Essentially, it doesn’t matter how they finish because the #8 seed doesn’t get any advantage over the #9 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. They can only finish 10th if they lose both of their final two games (including at home to Cal) and Oregon State and Colorado both win out.
9. Colorado Buffaloes- Current Standing 8th, 8-9
Possible Finishes: 8th- 29.37%, 9th- 50.78%, 10th- 14.7%
Average Finish- 8.80
Colorado wins a straight up tiebreaker with Arizona State but loses one with Oregon State. The only way for them to finish in 10th is if the Beavers sweep the Washington schools on the road and they drop their road contest against Utah. Once again, there’s no difference for all practical purposes between 8th and 9th once they’re in the tournament so the magic number is 1 for them and OSU to stay in that spot.
10. Oregon State Beavers- Current Standing 10th, 6-10
Possible Finishes: 8th- 3.44%, 9th- 11.42%, 10th- 85.14%
Average Finish- 9.82
Oregon State will know by Thursday night whether they have any chance to get to the 8/9 game. A loss to UW means they clinch 10th place in the conference and play either UW or Oregon in the conference tournament.
11. Washington State Cougars- Current Standing 11th, 3-13
Possible Finishes: 11th- 99.96%, 12th- 0.04%
Average Finish- 11.00
Washington State is almost locked into the 11th spot. The only way for that to change would be if Cal swept the Arizona schools on the road and Wazzu lost to both Oregon schools at home. Washington State losing both is a distinct possibility but I can’t fathom a universe where Cal wins both in the desert. Winning both games can’t get them to 10th.
12. California Golden Bears- Current Standing 12th, 2-14
Possible Finishes: 11th- 0.04%, 12th- 99.96%
Average Finish- 12.00
See the above. Cal is almost certain to finish last and therefore square off against the 5th seed in the tournament.
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