1. Whatever the national media may say, rumors of the Pac-12’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. On Monday, Utah’s OC Andy Ludwig decided to stay with the Utes rather than taking the same job at Notre Dame after spending the weekend in South Bend with Marcus Freeman. Ludwig has been in Salt Lake City for the last four seasons and his tenure has coincided with Utah being a team that just needed to score more to get over the hump to being the top team in the conference. The non-move comes on the heels of Ryan Grubb staying at UW instead of heading to Alabama, which in turn caused the Tide to hire ND’s Tommy Rees and open up the job that Ludwig did not take.
2. Remaining in SLC, the women’s basketball team has also earned some headlines. They are up to 4th in the country after sweeping UW and Washington State handily over the weekend. Stanford remains ranked #3 in the country and the two squads will face off in the regular season finale, likely to determine who will earn the top seed in the conference tournament.
3. Dana Altman has made it a hallmark of his coaching tenure in Eugene to start slow and gel as the season goes on. The Ducks have frequently looked dead in the water before making a run in conference play and somehow ending up in the Sweet 16. It looked like they were on track for another late season surge this year until they blew a winnable game against UCLA this weekend to fall to 15-11 on the year and likely on the outside looking in at the tournament. ATQ looks at what comes next for Oregon, including a strong recruiting class for next year, but acknowledges that there are more difficult questions for Altman to answer than at any point in his tenure.
4. Bill Connelly released his returning production rankings last week and Nick Kranz from Write for California analyzed the Pac-12’s entries in the rankings. The popularization of the transfer portal has certainly made Bill C’s job more difficult in pegging “returning” production when so many veteran players settle into new places. Nonetheless, the rankings tend to tell us a decent amount about what to expect around the corner.
5. Arizona men’s basketball lost to Stanford over the weekend, right after I noted that it looked like they had stabilized themselves after a January wobble. Desert Swarm analyzed what the loss did to their bracket math. Arizona is now likely stuck at #2 in the Pac-12 and could easily sink below a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament without a strong showing in the last three weeks of the regular season.
6. UW had a successful opening weekend to the softball season, but things were even better for UCLA. The Bruins swept the conference awards for Player of the Week, Pitcher of the Week, and Freshman of the week. UCLA is already 6-0, including double header wins on both Saturday and Sunday.