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Pac-12 men’s basketball report: Arizona State, Colorado suffer stinging defeats

The last Pac-12 men’s college basketball season is not going according to plan. Arizona is holding up its end of the bargain. Utah, which dismantled UCLA on Thursday night in Salt Lake City, is overachieving.

The rest of the conference needs to be better if the league is going to create a reasonably memorable final season.

We all know how bad things have been for USC and UCLA. The Los Angeles schools have been an absolute disaster for the Pac-12. The Trojans and Bruins have, along with half of the conference, played themselves out of contention for the NCAA Tournament. There are five schools with a decent-to-good chance of making March Madness in two months. Arizona is a lock. Utah is very likely to get in. After that, the picture gets murky. Oregon has only three losses, but not a lot of high-end wins. The Ducks are the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference, but they will need to keep winning to firm up their resume.

Over the past two days, two other teams trying to solidify their portfolios took backward steps.

On Wednesday, Colorado blew a 19-point second-half lead and lost to lowly California. That’s a bad loss for a bubble team to absorb. Colorado is now 2-3 in the Pac-12, having also lost to Arizona State. The Buffaloes beat Miami, but Miami just lost to Louisville at home. Colorado doesn’t have a lot on its resume other than that one huge win over the Hurricanes.

The other Pac-12 bubble team which stumbled was Arizona State. On Thursday night, the Sun Devils lost to Washington in Seattle. ASU is 4-1 in the Pac-12, and that’s good, but two of those four wins are over Stanford and Cal. ASU had a bad nonconference run, so the Sun Devils are probably an NIT team right now. Their win over Utah was absolutely crucial, but they have to do more in order to offset some of their nonconference losses, particularly UC San Diego.

The Pac-12 did not expect to enter mid-January with only two certain NCAA Tournament teams, but that’s where we are at the moment.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire