5-way tie for first in Pac-10?

  • By Mike Allende / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2006 9:00pm
  • Sports

SEATTLE – What has been a tight Pacific-10 Conference men’s basketball race all season could end with the tightest finish in the league’s history.

Going into the final week of the regular season, it’s possible that by the end of Saturday, there could be a five-way tie for first place in the Pac-10.

Is it probable? No. But it’s not as outlandish a possibility as you’d think. With five teams within two games of each other, pieces could definitely fall into place that would force Pac-10 administration to wade through a bevy of tie-breaker scenarios.

Even the coaches involved haven’t quite figured out exactly what needs to happen for their team to win the Pac-10; there are just too many possibilities.

“I know something crazy could happen,” said Washington’s Lorenzo Romar, whose No. 14 Huskies (11-5 Pac-10, 22-5 overall) play at Arizona State (4-12, 10-15) at 6 p.m. today.

A five-way tie would have to start with first-place UCLA (12-6) losing at second-place California (11-5) and fourth-place Stanford (10-6). The Bruins beat the Cardinal but lost to the Golden Bears earlier this season, but have won just once in the Bay Area in the last three seasons.

Cal would then have to lose at home to USC. The Golden Bears have home losses to Oregon State and Arizona State this season.

Stanford would need a sweep of UCLA and USC, teams it lost to earlier this season. But the Cardinal have not lost to either team at home since 2002.

Arizona (10-6), which has won four of its last five to improve its NCAA Tournament hopes, would need to sweep Washington and Washington State, both of whom the Wildcats defeated earlier this season.

To complete the scenario, the Huskies would have to defeat Arizona State today. If all of that took place, all five teams would be named co-champions of the league, though the league would have to employ its tie-breaker rules in order to seed the teams for the Pac-10 Tournament. The tie breaker begins with head-to-head record, and then goes to records versus the other Pac-10 teams in descending order from the top.

Got it?

“I don’t even understand how it’s going to work or play out,” Washington’s Jamaal Williams said. “We just worry about ourselves, taking care of our part of the deal and let the cards fall the way they’re going to fall.”

“No matter what, we’ve got to win our two games,” UW forward Bobby Jones added.

Indeed, today will be a huge day for the Huskies and their hopes of winning the conference championship. If Cal defeats UCLA and Washington beats the Sun Devils, all three teams would be tied at the top at 12-5 with one game to go. Washington, which has won six in a row, would hold the tie-breaker over UCLA by virtue of its season-sweep of the Bruins.

Of course, everything is contingent on the Huskies defeating the Sun Devils, who they defeated 91-67 on Dec. 29. Since then, the Sun Devils are improved, though they’ve still lost three of their last four games, but won at Cal in double overtime.

“We’ve been playing a lot of young kids, so I think we’ve gotten better,” said ASU coach Rob Evans, whose job is on shaky ground.

“They are as scrappy as any team in the league,” Romar said. “When you watch them play, you’d think they have a chance to win the Pac-10 championship.”

For most of the season, Arizona State was led by guards Kevin Kruger (14.2 points) and Bryson Krueger (12.4), both of whom have played huge amounts of minutes this season. Kruger, in particular, has been busy, averaging 39 minutes a game and has played in almost 96 percent of his team’s minutes. But recently, the Sun Devils’ freshmen have picked up their play to take pressure off Kruger and Krueger.

Forward Jeff Pendergraph is averaging 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds in his last nine games and averages 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds overall. Point guard Antwi Atuahene averages 4.56 assists in Pac-10 play and Sylvester Seay is averaging 5.0 points and is third on the team in 3-pointers and second in blocks.

“It’s going to be tough,” Jones said. “A lot of people say Arizona State is going to lay over and give us a win, which I know isn’t true.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Washington's Sami Reynolds bats during a Women's College World Series game this past June in Oklahoma City. (UW Athletics photo)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Woman of the Year in Sports: Sami Reynolds

The Snohomish grad capped an outstanding five-year career with an All-American season and one of the biggest moments in UW history.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 18-24

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 18-24. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Arlington’s Caleb Reed is thrown into the air by lineman Dylan Scott after scoring a touchdown against Ferndale on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep football power rankings after Week 4

Here are our top 8 local teams after all the action from Friday and Saturday.

Monroe’s Mason Davis (1) celebrates with Trent Bublitz (11) after Bublitz’s touchdown reception against Edmonds-Woodway on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, at Edmonds School District Stadium in Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Reader poll: Make your picks for Week 5 prep football games

Do you think you can beat the experts in our weekly high… Continue reading

The 1987 Cascade boys soccer team poses for a photo in front of the Space Needle in Seattle. (County Sports Hall of Fame photo)
County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 bio: 1987 Cascade boys soccer

The 1987 Cascade boys soccer team won the AAA title and kicked off a run of five straight appearances in the state title game.

Prep roundup for Monday, Sept. 25

Prep roundup for Monday, Sept. 25: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III celebrates after scoring against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Grading the Seahawks in their 37-27 win over the Panthers

Seattle turns in a solid all-around performance in front of the 2013 Super Bowl winners.

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

Most Read