Seven teams vying for #Pac12Hoops title with two weeks till Vegas

Al Sermeno

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#PAC12HOOPS STARTING FIVE

.314 - Road win percentage in Pac-12 play through Feb. 22 games, the second-toughest conference to win on the road in college basketball behind the SEC (28-70, .286).

.812 - Combined home win percentage of all Pac-12 teams this season through Feb. 22 games, the best home win percentage by a conference in college basketball.

4 - Four games are separating the top 10 teams in the Pac-12 standings as of Feb. 22, the second-smallest separation between as many teams in its league standings (SEC - 4 games, 11 teams).
>> Seven Pac-12 teams remain in contention for the regular-season title as of Feb. 23.

7-10-11 - The Pac-12’s seven teams in the NCAA RPI Top 50, 10 teams in the RPI Top 75 and 11 teams in the RPI Top 100 as of Feb. 23 are tied for the most in the nation with the ACC.
>> Since 2004-05, only one conference has had at least 11 RPI Top 100 teams entering Selection Sunday - the old 15- and 16-team Big East on six separate occasions.

10 - Ten Pac-12 teams have an NCAA Strength of Schedule in the top 50, the second-most in the nation. OREGON, OREGON STATE and STANFORD rank first, third and sixth, respectively, in the category.

PAC-12 QUICK HITS

BRACKETOLOGY - The Pac-12 is currently projected to earn 6-to-7 NCAA Tournament bids (six is Pac-12 record) according to various major sports news bracketology posts:

CBSSports.com - 7 (+1 First Four Out)
USA Today - 7 (+1 First Four Out)
Sporting News - 7 (+1 Bubble)
NBCSports.com - 7 (+2 Next Four Out)
FOXSports.com - 7 (+1 Next Four Out)
ESPN.com - 6 (+2 Next Four Out)
Sports Illustrated - 6

HOME SWEET HOME: The Pac-12 owns two of the nation’s top 10 longest home-court win streaks. OREGON is tied for the nation’s fifth-best streak at 23 straight games after the Ducks ended ARIZONA’s national-best 49-game streak on Jan. 28. CALIFORNIA is tied for the ninth-best home streak in the country at 17 consecutive victories.

TOUGH ROAD TO VEGAS: Only five teams have completed a road sweep in 38 attempts so far in league play:

UTAH at WSU/WASH
ORE at ARIZ/ASU
ARIZ at WSU/WASH
UTAH at UCLA/USC
CAL at WASH/WSU

CONTEXT TO STANDOUT YEAR: Since the NCAA adjusted the RPI formula to account for game location in 2004-05, the league’s best Conference RPI entering Selection Sunday came in 2013-14 at .5695. The Pac-12 currently boasts a Conference RPI of .5860, second-best in the country, according to CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm. That .5860 rating would tie for the second-highest since 2004-05 (Big 12 in 2009-10), trailing only the Big 12’s current .5960 rating this season.

Below is a breakdown of the league’s number of teams in the RPI Top 25-50-75-100 each year since 2004-05.
YEAR     25 - 50 - 75 - 100
2015-16   3 - 7 - 10 - 11
2014-15   2 - 4 - 5 - 6
2013-14   2 - 6 - 7 - 9
2012-13   1 - 4 - 5 - 8
2011-12   0 - 1 - 4 - 6 (Pac-12)
2010-11   1 - 3 - 4 - 6
2009-10   1 - 2 - 3 - 4
2008-09   1 - 5 - 6 - 7
2007-08   3 - 5 - 6 - 8
2006-07   3 - 5 - 6 - 8
2005-06   2 - 3 - 4 - 5
2004-05   2 - 4 - 5 - 7 (Pac-10)

The only other league to have at least 11 teams in the RPI Top 100 entering Selection Sunday during this time frame was the old Big East (13 - 2006, 2010; 11 - 2009, 2011-13).

TOP 100 CHARTS: Through Feb. 22, the Pac-12 has 109 wins against NCAA RPI Top 100 teams, led by ARIZONA (13-5), CALIFORNIA (11-7), OREGON (16-5), USC (10-8) and UTAH (14-7).

The Pac-12 has 50 total wins versus the RPI Top 50, paced by OREGON (9-3), OREGON STATE (6-6) and UTAH (7-6).

OREGON (4-1), OREGON STATE (3-4), UTAH (3-4) and STANFORD (3-6) combine for 13 of the Pac-12’s 20 RPI Top 25 wins.

EVERY GAME’S A BATTLE: Through 86 league games as of Feb. 21:
>> Average scoring margin is 10.9 ppg.
>> 41 have been decided by single digits.
>> 15 have been decided by one possession (3 pts or less).
>> Seven have gone to OT, 12 total OT periods.
>> Six decided by a team’s final possession.

OSCAR TRIO FOR PAC-12: After only three recipients in the award’s first six years, Pac-12 players earned three straight selections for the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, the first-time a conference has earned three consecutive awards:

Ryan Anderson, ARIZONA - Feb. 9, 2016
Dillon Brooks, OREGON - Feb. 2, 2016
Jakob Poeltl, UTAH - Jan. 26, 2016
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA - Dec. 2012
Faisal Aden, WASHINGTON STATE - Jan. 2012
Jerome Randle, CALIFORNIA - Feb. 2010

#PAC12HOOPS LINEUP

1 - The dynamics of family are stressed in most college basketball programs, but as seen in the latest Pac-12 All-Access, nowhere does that ring more true than at Oregon State where Coach Wayne Tinkle not only coaches his son Tres, but Gary Payton II plays in the shadow of his father Gary, a legendary figure in Corvallis.

2 - It might be only his first season coaching in the Pac-12, but if there's anyone who knows successful college basketball it would be Bobby Hurley, a former All-American and national champion player born and bred in the hoops hotbeds of New York and North Carolina. And Coach Hurley thinks there are more than a few Pac-12 teams capable of playing deep in the NCAA Tournament.

3 - Pac-12 Networks college basketball analyst Lamar Hurd previews a game loaded with tournament - both conference and NCAA - implications in Wednesday's showdown (8 p.m. PT/ESPNU) between WASHINGTON and OREGON STATE.

4 - No. 22 UTAH has won four straight games to return to the national rankings this week. Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune points to the elevated play of Jakob Poeltl and teammate Brandon Taylor embracing the facilitator role as keys to the Utes return to form.

5 - No. 13 OREGON got back on track with a Civil War Rivalry victory over OREGON STATE last week, and The Washington Post makes a deep dive into the numbers to find out why the Ducks might be the nation's quietest Final Four contender.

6 - Numbers aside, No. 16 OREGON might be a Final Four contender in part due to the play of Chris Boucher. The 6-10 forward's basketball journey continues to trend upward writes Daniel Uthman and Nicole Auerbach of USA Today.

7 - As the list of Final Four contenders gets shorter, so does the number of worthy candidates for National Coach of the Year honors. Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis has ARIZONA's Sean Miller on his short list, while Miller, USC's Andy Enfield and OREGON's Dana Altman are in the running according to The Sporting News.

8 - Sticking with Sean Miller, the Wildcats' head coach joined ESPN's Scott Van Pelt on Monday night's SportsCenter to discuss his new commitment to his personal health, his team's improvement and the quality depth of the Pac-12 this season.

9 - Name the all-time leading scorer in UCLA and Pac-12 history...

Don MacLean scored 2,608 career points with the Bruins from 1989-92, then became the NBA's Most Improved Player in 1994. He's now one of the key college hoops voices on the West Coast and recently got the Pac-12 Centennial Living Legend treatment from Pac-12 Networks.

10 - Turning to the professional ranks, CALIFORNIA alum Sean Marks was named the General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets last week. He is now one of nine current NBA head coaches or GMs with Pac-12 ties.

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