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Pac-12 women’s basketball standings: February 20

The Pac-12 women’s basketball season has been one constant thrill ride. The Pac-12 has more teams projected to be a top-three seed in the 2024 Women’s NCAA Tournament than any other conference.

Stanford, USC, Oregon State, Colorado, and UCLA give the Pac-12 five teams which — on the morning of Tuesday, February 20 — are all projected to be top-three seeds in March Madness. No other conference has more than two projected top-three seeds.

The ACC has North Carolina State and Virginia Tech. The Big Ten has Iowa and Ohio State. The SEC, Big 12, and Big East have just one team apiece. The Pac-12 really does have the best group of five teams in the country. No other conference has a top five as good as the Pac. With that in mind, here are the latest Pac-12 women’s basketball standings heading into this huge weekend of games on Friday, February 23, and Sunday, February 25:

OREGON: 2-12

USA TODAY Sports Syndication: Statesman Journal
USA TODAY Sports Syndication: Statesman Journal

The Ducks got walloped by USC and UCLA at home this past weekend. The program which made the Final Four under Sabrina Ionescu a few years ago has endured a stunning fall from national prominence.

ARIZONA STATE: 3-11

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Devils beat Washington last Friday, dealing the Huskies a huge blow to their NCAA Tournament hopes.

WASHINGTON: 3-11

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington has allowed close games to slip through its fingers this season. UW led Arizona State by four points in the final 30 seconds of regulation but allowed the game to go into overtime. The Huskies lost to the Sun Devils and appear to be done as an at-large candidate.

CAL: 5-9

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cal still has a shot at an at-large bid, but the Golden Bears have little margin for error after being blasted by Stanford last week. Cal needs at least four wins if not five to have a shot at an at-large bid.

WASHINGTON STATE: 5-9

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State is enduring a painful season because guard Charlisse Leger-Walker, the team’s best player, got knocked out for the season several weeks ago with an injury. That has put the brakes on what was shaping up to be an NCAA Tournament season. Wazzu is still on the bubble, but without Leger-Walker, it’s an uphill battle. The team and coaching staff have done well. They are simply unlucky — brutally unlucky.

ARIZONA: 6-8

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona made the national title game three years ago. The Wildcats still play great defense under coach Adia Barnes, but they lack the high-end scorers who can help them win more consistently. Arizona is a fringe bubble team which needs a five-game winning streak to have a chance at the Big Dance.

UCLA: 9-5

 Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

How good and deep is the Pac-12 in women’s basketball? A UCLA team which was unbeaten in early January and ranked No. 2 in the country is now in sixth place. UCLA is still good, but the Bruins have been pushed around by the other strong teams in the Pac-12 over the past month.

UTAH: 9-5

 Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes have been slowed down by injuries. They don’t have their full complement of players. Yet, they beat Colorado last Friday and will be a top-six, maybe top-five, seed at the NCAA Tournament. They’re still really good.

OREGON STATE: 10-4

USA TODAY Sports Syndication: Statesman Journal
USA TODAY Sports Syndication: Statesman Journal

Oregon State is part of a three-way tie for second. The key point to make here is that the top four teams get a bye in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. The three teams tied for second at 10-4 want to hold off Utah and UCLA, both 9-5, in the race for first-round byes.

USC: 10-4

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC has vaulted itself into a tie for second by beating Oregon State on the road and sweeping the Beavers in the season series. Next up: a massive game on Friday night in the Galen Center against the other team tied with the Trojans in the Pac-12 standings.

That team is next on the list:

COLORADO: 10-4

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night in the Galen Center, USC hosts Colorado. If the Trojans win, they will be in second place in the Pac-12 because of their head-to-head sweep of Oregon State. USC would take the lead in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. Beating Colorado would increase USC’s chances of being a No. 1 seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament. It’s a giant game for both teams. It’s a game you will want to attend on Friday night if you have the chance to do so.

STANFORD: 12-2

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is why Tara VanDerveer is an elite coach. This was supposed to be a “down” year for Stanford, given that it lost elite post player Lauren Betts to UCLA in a shocking transfer move. You can see how good Lauren Betts is. Stanford, by losing Betts, was supposed to have suffered a lot. Yet, here are the Cardinal, leading the rugged and loaded Pac-12 by two games with just four games left in the regular season. The Trees are still towering over the rest of the Pac-12, as they usually have. USC and Colorado are the only teams which have beaten Stanford in Pac-12 play this season.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire