Jan 26, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA Utah Utes center Dallin Bachynski (31) and Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski (35) and guard Nick Johnson (13) battle for the ball during the second half at McKale Center. Arizona won 65-56. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight starts a big weekend of Pac-12 basketball. Everyone either has five or six games left to play and a real Mendoza line has developed in the Pac-12.
If you follow my HoyoScale Standings (go here if haven’t seen them) everyone who is +1 or better is in the NCAA tourney and everyone at ZERO or worse is looking at going to the dances where there are only Sweet Spirits (for those of you not from Utah that means ugly girls who are very nice).
The Utes face Arizona tonight and a win could start putting the Utes in the Bracketology conversation, which as of today they are not. Essentially everyone knows what the matchup is. Utah needs to play their offensive asses off to have a hope. Arizona rebounds and defends as good as any team I’ve ever seen, 1998 Utah levels, maybe better. But since Brandon Ashley’s injury they’ve struggled to score. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be great, but Ashley was a glue guy (translated into Utahese think Alex Jensen) who just makes everything else work.
Sean Miller did say that he would use his bench more and regrets not doing it sooner. So we’ll see.
As for the rest of the Pac-12 tonight…
UCLA travels to Cal. UCLA might be playing the best basketball right now in the Pac-12 and just dismantled the Utes in the 2nd half. Cal just swept the Washington road trip, but with UW looking like they’re collapsing and Wazzu going to be looking for a new coach soon, well that’s not a big deal.
Washington at Oregon. Washington is looking like they’re in bad shape. Oregon has struggled but has won three of their last six and lost the games on the Arizona roadtrip by four total points. Oregon is a team I’d hate to see the Utes draw in the first round in Vegas.
Arizona St. and Colorado. This is a fascinating game as well. ASU has to be looking to build on their Arizona win. Colorado has somehow managed to save their season after the Dinwiddie injury. An ASU road win would be a big deal for the Sun Devils.