The media big boys, and especially those in LA, have been dying to proclaim UCLA as being in the driver’s seat of the PAC-12 race. When the Bruins beat Arizona, headlines far and wide proclaimed UCLA’s tie with the Oregon Ducks. UCLA is now in control of their destiny! They have their fate in their hands!
These superlatives are nothing new to Ducks fans. With all due *cough* respect to the experts, this is nothing more than a paper tie-ger for now.
Nothing is certain in the PAC-12 race. A lot can happen with either team, and don’t forget about red-hot California; however, all things remaining equal – tied, that is – the Ducks will be positioned favorably. The Ducks don’t have a bad loss and if both teams win out the Ducks have the better record. Oregon beat UCLA head to head — in Pauley, no less. The Bruins would have an additional defeat, and I have two words for UCLA: Cal Poly.
If the Ducks win out and get at least a share of the PAC-12 title, then they’re probably in. It will help to have a good showing in the PAC-12 tournament. The Bruins would be on the outside, looking in, and they would have to at least get to the finals, if not win outright. Being tied for first sounds good on paper for UCLA, but they’re going to sweat bullets if it comes down to a tie.
The PAC-12 tournament has no clear front runners this year. It’s going to be interesting to see who advances to the final. The Ducks have an opportunity to get a good seeding in the NCAA tourney if they win out. If that happens, look out — there are no clear favorites in The Dance, either. This year is going to be Madness, for sure, and the Ducks could surprise everyone by getting past the first weekend.