During a regular season in which seven different teams held at least a share of first place at one point, the Pac-12 title eventually went to the team that was projected to win it from the outset.
Oregon emerged from a crowded top half of the league to win for the first time since 2020, somehow finishing a game clear of a group of challengers who spent most of the last few weeks bunched together. Now the Ducks take the No. 1 seed and a big target on their backs to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament, which begins Wednesday.
All 12 schools are in that event, with four first-round matchups paring the field down to eight and with the championship set for Saturday. It’s looking very good for the Pac-12 to get as many as seven teams into the NCAA tourney, and how they fare in Vegas could determine seeding for The Big Dance.
All season long we power ranked the league, breaking down how they fared in their most recent games and looking ahead to what’s next.
1. Oregon Ducks (24-7, 13-5)
Last week: 1st
Oregon had the luxury of playing its final three games at home and they made the most of that, winning those games by an average of 20.7 points to finish 17-0 at Matthew Knight Arena. Non-home venues have been far more challenging for the Ducks, though, but the path is there for them to claim the conference title to go with that regular season crown, which last happened for them in 2016.
Up next: Thursday vs. Oregon State/Utah winner in Pac-12 Tournament
2. UCLA Bruins (19-12, 12-6)
Last week: 2nd
The run had to end some time, so it was only fitting that UCLA’s 7-game win streak was halted by at crosstown rival USC. Had the Bruins won that game they would have shared the regular-season title, but even finishing second seemed completely impossible back in December or January. There’s still work to do, though, because a poor nonconference performance means UCLA has to win at least once in Vegas to get into the NCAA tourney.
Up next: Thursday vs. Stanford/California winner in Pac-12 Tournament
3. USC Trojans (22-9, 11-7)
Last week: 4th
Jonah Mathews didn’t just become USC’s career 3-point leader on Saturday, he also swished one with a second left to give the Trojans a huge win over UCLA to lock up a first-round bye and all-but guarantee their first NCAA bid since 2017. The top defense in the Pac-12 has been nails of late, holding their last three foes below 0.87 points per possession.
Up next: Thursday vs. Arizona/Washington winner in Pac-12 Tournament
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (20-11, 11-7)
Last week: 3rd
ASU halted its late-season slide with a win over Washington State to lock up a first-round bye, but it almost didn’t happen. The Sun Devils blew a 17-point lead in the second half but rallied to avoid being swept by Washington State, which they could face again on Thursday. Either that or a Colorado team that beat them twice, including way back in November in China.
Up next: Thursday vs. Colorado/Washington State winner in Pac-12 Tournament
5. Colorado Buffaloes (21-10, 10-8)
Last week: 5th
Colorado takes a 4-game losing streak to Vegas after losing in overtime at Utah, though it’s fair to say the Buffaloes were robbed in that last contest by a questionable foul call as time expired. Shooting 24 percent from 3-point range during the skid is much more of a concern.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Washington State in Pac-12 Tournament
6. Arizona Wildcats (20-11, 10-8)
Last week: 6th
Four losses in the last five games have Arizona going in the wrong direction at the most important time of the season. To make matters worse, the Wildcats have to turn right around and face the same Washington team that nearly blew them out of their own arena on Saturday night. Win that first game, though, and Arizona is more than talented enough to go on a deep run in Vegas.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Washington in Pac-12 Tournament
7. Stanford Cardinal (20-10, 9-8)
Last week: 7th
Getting swept at the Oregon schools wasn’t that big of a surprise for Stanford, but it was still disappointing since it came after a 4-game win streak to get back into consideration for a top-four seed. Instead the Cardinal get a rubber match with their rivals with a chance to beat Oregon after that. Winning the first is probably all that’s needed to make the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2014.
Up next: Wednesday vs. California in Pac-12 Tournament
8. Washington Huskies (15-16, 5-13)
Last week: 12th
Why is the team that finished in last place in the regular season so highly ranked? Because Washington isn’t your average No. 12 seed, as shown by its impressive wins at ASU and Arizona over the weekend. The Huskies were picked to finish second back in November but massively underachieved, and it didn’t help losing point guard Quade Green to academics, but now they’re finally showing their potential and could be a tough out in Vegas.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Arizona in Pac-12 Tournament
9. Utah Utes (16-14, 7-11)
Last week: 9th
Was Both Gach fouled at the end of overtime against Colorado? The refs thought so, and he cooly drained all three free throws to give Utah a little momentum heading to T-Mobile Arena. That happens to be the site of the Utes’ high point this season, when they shocked Kentucky in December. Beat Oregon State in the first round and they could have a shot to replicate that shocker against Oregon.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Oregon State in Pac-12 Tournament
10. Oregon State Beavers (17-13, 7-11)
Last week: 11th
A home sweep of the Bay Area schools combined with Tres Tinkle becoming the school’s career scoring leader made for a very happy final weekend for Oregon State. The Beavers went 12-4 in Corvallis but 4-9 everywhere else, however, but beating Utah in the first round should make them an attractive NIT candidate.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Utah in Pac-12 Tournament
11. California Golden Bears (13-18, 7-11)
Last week: 8th
Losses at the Oregon schools by a combined 52 points were a stark reminder of just how much work Cal still has to do in order to truly be competitive anywhere other than Berkeley. The Golden Bears are 1-13 away from home, though maybe the extra emotion that comes from facing a rival could inspire them in the first round in Vegas.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Stanford in Pac-12 Tournament
12. Washington State Cougars (15-15, 6-12)
Last week: 10th
Washington State led at Arizona at halftime and rallied from down 17 at ASU to tie it late in the second half. But the Cougars still lost both of those games and hasn’t beaten anyone other than Washington since Jan. 29. And they haven’t won a Pac-12 tourney game since 2009, so what had been a very promising first season under Kyle Smith is likely just a few days away from ending.
Up next: Wednesday vs. Colorado in Pac-12 Tournament