With two games left in their seasons, UCLA and Oregon are knotted for the Pac-12 lead, while a streaking Cal squad and also has hopes of winning the conference title.
A lot of people might have written the Bruins off earlier in the season. They lost three of their first seven, including one to Cal Poly, and needed overtime to beat UC-Irvine. But with their second win of the season over Arizona Saturday night, they've proven they're close to the cream of the Pac-12's crop. Shabazz Muhammed is as good as advertised, as the 6'6 swingman is averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds, and Ben Howland's squad has a pretty strong shot of taking the regular season title for the first time since 2008.
Oregon is also 12-4, thanks in large part to Arsalan Kazemi, ranked the No. 1 defensive rebounder in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy's ratings. Like UCLA, they have two road games left, one against a decent team - UCLA faces Washington, Oregon faces Colorado - and one against a team they should have no trouble beating - UCLA has a two-win Washington State team, Oregon faces a three-win Utah team.
Those two teams are both a half-game ahead of a red-hot Cal team. The Golden Bears have won seven in a row, with Allen Crabbe just edging Muhammad for the Pac-12 scoring lead - he averages 18.8, Muhammad 18.3. They've helped their cause quite a bit of late, taking down Oregon twice and beating UCLA as well. Unfortunately for Mike Montgomery's squad, they'll need help: they have a rivalry game against Stanford on the docket and will need to win that and at least one loss by both UCLA and Oregon to get a share of the conference title. Arizona is technically still alive, but they'd need to win their last game and for both UCLA and Oregon to lose out, so its a bit of a long shot.
The good news for all four teams is that they're all very likely to receive byes through the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. Oregon, UCLA, and Cal have all clinched, while Arizona is very close to securing a top four seed that would guarantee them an extra day of rest.
Here's a look at the conference standings after Sunday's games:
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