Posted on February 17, 2022
Arizona has opened a two-and-a-half-game lead on USC and Oregon as the Wildcats sit at 12-1 in conference play.
The lead is the largest the Pac-12 has seen since Washington ended the season with a three-game conference lead in winning the title in 2019.
It also is the largest current lead in any of the six major conferences this season (Power-5 + Big East), and the Wildcats 12-1 start to Pac-12 play is their best start since opening 15-1 in 2016-17.
One reason for the success is their unbeaten, 13-0, record at McKale Center: Dating to last season, Arizona has won 15-straight home games, tied for the fourth-longest active home winning streak in the nation.
This Saturday the Wildcats are scheduled to meet Oregon.
Not only would this be a chance to put another game between them in the standings, but should Oregon win at Arizona State, the Ducks would bring a six-game road win streak to Tucson.
Oregon’s current five-game winning streak away from Eugene is tied for the nation’s seventh-longest streak.
Utah is carrying a different road streak as the Utes have not won a true road game this season, going 0-9, and losing their last 12 road games overall, the eighth-longest active streak in the nation.
On Saturday, the Utes will be in Berkeley to play California at Haas Pavilion.
Ironically, that is a building the Bears have not won at since January 2, against Arizona State. It is a string of five-straight losses on their home floor for Cal, tied for the seventh-longest streak in America.
One team putting together a solid conference season after a bit pedestrian 5-5 nonconference slate is Washington. The Huskies are being led by Terrell Brown Jr and the near historic season he is putting together.
The Grad Transfer returned home to Seattle for the season and is currently getting 1.606 steals per foul committed, the fifth-best efficiency rating in the nation.
Brown’s total defensive plays made per foul is currently 2.0, the 12th-best rate in the country. He leads the Pac-12 and is sixth in the nation with 22.1 points per game.
He also sits 12th nationally with a Pac-12-best 2.3 steals per game. By leading the conference in both points and steals he has a chance to do something that has not been done since 2008-09.
In fact, only four players have ever finished a season leading the Conference in both points and steals, and the list is elite:
• James Harden, ASU, 2008-09
• Jason Terry, Arizona, 1998-99
• Terrell Brandon, Oregon, 1990-91
• Gary Payton, OSU, 1989-90
Here’s a look at this week’s Pac-12 Matchups.
Washington Schools head to Southern California
Washington State had pretty much alternated wins and losses through December and January until they closed the month and opened February with a four-game win streak.
Now the Cougars find themselves headed to Southern California in the middle of a three-game losing streak. And to end that streak they will need to break a few others.
The Cougars have not left LA with a win over either UCLA or USC since a 2015 win over the Trojans.
If you include Pac-12 Tournament games since the 2009-10 season the Cougars are a 3-20 against Pac-12 opponents in Los Angeles.
WSU has a 10-game losing streak at UCLA. The Cougars have not knocked off the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion since March of 2009.
The Bruins have won 16 of the last 21 meetings regardless of location. Since 1980, UCLA is 33-2 at home against Washington State.
USC has won 11 consecutive games over Washington State, the longest active series win streak in the Pac-12. The Trojans have won the last five times the teams have played in Los Angeles.
The last time the Cougars got a win in the series was February 25, 2015, when Dexter Kernich-Drew led the Cougars to a 70-66 win at the Galen Center.
The December meeting this season was a two-point USC 63-61 win that saw the Trojans outscore the Cougs by 10 points in the paint.
Washington has not had much better luck when visiting Southern California. Since the 2012-13 season, the Huskies are a combined 2-11 against USC and UCLA in Los Angeles.
USC has won three in a row in the series and the last two at the Galen Center. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Washington does hold a 4-3 edge.
Since 2019-20, the last four in the series have been decided by an average of 20.3 points per game. The lone single-digit game was a 62-56 Trojan win in the Galen Center in 2020.
UCLA has won four in a row over Washington and the last four meetings at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins are 7-1 against Washington since the start of the 2016-17 season.
The lone Washington win in that span was a 69-55 win in Seattle in 2019. The winning team has scored 70+ points just once in the last five meetings—an 81-76 Bruins win at home last season.
Bay Area Schools host the Mountain Schools
Since the Utes joined the Pac-12 they hold a 9-8 series lead over Stanford. The home team has gone 14-2 in the series as Pac-12 opponents.
Utah has won five of the last seven meetings, but the Cardinal have won the last two at Maples Pavilion, including a 73-66 win a year ago.
The teams split last season with Utah getting the win in Salt Lake City.
As mentioned earlier, the Utes have lost their last 12 true road games dating back to last season, a streak that began with a loss to Stanford on February 13.
The Colorado-California series has also been dominated by the home team. As Pac-12 opponents, the home team enjoys a 15-2 advantage in the series; all-time, the home team is 27-4.
Cal is 7-1 vs the Buffaloes at home since Colorado entered the Pac-12. Last year the teams met three times with the home team winning and the Buffs knocking the Bears out of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
Cal has claimed the last two meetings in Berkeley.
The last time Utah won a true road game was at Cal last season, as the teams split the season series with the road team taking both wins.
The first meeting this season was a 66-58 Utah win in Salt Lake City. Since joining the Pac-12, the Utes are 10-7 against the Bears.
The last two meetings at Haas have been a one-point Utah win last season and an 86-79 overtime win for Cal in 2019-20.
Colorado is 13-4 against Stanford since the Buffaloes joined the Conference. The Cardinal swept the season series in 2011-12, and since then it has been all Buffs as they won nine in a row from 2013-18.
Colorado is 5-2 in their last seven trips to Stanford. Last season it was a sweep for Colorado and the Buffaloes also took the first meeting this season 80-76 in Boulder.
The Buffs forced 15 Stanford turnovers in that one while only giving it away six times.
Oregon and Oregon State Hit the Desert
Oregon State has lost 10 straight games, the fifth-longest active losing streak in the nation and they have never defeated a Top 5 team in a true road game.
It will be a tall order for the Beavers in Tucson, a place where they have lost nine in a row by an average of 15.1 points per game.
The Wildcats are 36-1 at home against the Beavers since 1983-84 and 37-6 all-time against OSU in Tucson. OSU’s lone win in Tucson in the last 36 years was a 63-55 victory in 2010.
Overall, Arizona is 17-2 in their last 19 games against Oregon State including a 25-point win in Corvallis in December.
Oregon has won their last five road games, which is tied for the seventh-longest streak in the nation entering the week. The Sun Devils took the first meeting this season with Oregon 69-67 in Eugene in December.
It was the first time ASU got a win at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon won both meetings a season, with a win in the Pac-12 Tournament and a win last February at Desert Financial Arena.
The Ducks are 13-3 in the last 16 against ASU. Arizona State has won two of the past three in Tempe against the Ducks and the teams have split the past four overall.
Arizona State has won 13 of their last 15 against Oregon State in Tempe and five of the last six in the series. Last season the teams split with the home team taking both meetings.
The last three meetings have been decided by a total of four points. The last four times the Sun Devils have hosted the Beavers the games have been decided by an average of 2.0 points.
Arizona State has won the last six meetings at home over OSU.
Oregon has won the last seven over Arizona and the Ducks have taken 10 of the last 12 in the series. Five of those last seven meetings have been decided by five points or less.
The first of those 10 wins in the last 12 meetings was the 2016 win in Tucson that ended the Wildcats 49-game home win streak at the McKale Center.
The Ducks have now won three in a row in Tucson and four of the last five in Arizona.
The Wildcats have won 15-straight home games, and with a win over the Ducks, they could extend it to 16, possibly tying Kentucky for the nation’s third-longest active streak.
Monday Bonus: ASU at UCLA
Arizona State was the winner in three overtimes at Desert Financial on February 5. It was a game that had just 20 total turnovers (11 for ASU and nine for UCLA) in 55 minutes of play.
The game was tied 17 times and the lead changed hands 10 times. The last four between them have been decided by 3.3 points with the largest margin being a six-point UCLA overtime win in Tempe last season.
UCLA has won three of the last four meetings, but the Sun Devils have won five of the last eight since the 2017-18 season.
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