Around the Pac-12: Los Angeles Foes On Track for Title-Deciding Matchup
The race for the Pac-12 title is heating up. USC and UCLA lead the pack with three additional teams looking to get into March Madness. It’s sure to be a wild finish out west.
Losing to Arizona 81-72 on Sunday, the Trojans of Southern California rebounded by absolutely dismantling the Oregon Ducks at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Led by Santa Clara transfer Tahj Eaddy and Rice transfer Drew Peterson, the Trojans relied on the role players more than their star brothers Isaiah and Evan Mobley. Eaddy started off the game hot with six 3-pointers in the first half. Peterson and Evan Mobley, meanwhile, finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively. However, the Trojans took a step back in the Pac-12 title race with a Thursday loss to Colorado in Boulder, opening the door for crosstown rival UCLA to win the regular season instead.
Across I-10, UCLA has a tough three-game stretch following Thursday’s win over Utah. The Bruins’ last three games are away at Colorado and Oregon and home for USC. Ever since the Trojans overtook UCLA in the standings, the light has dimmed a bit on the Bruins. But everyone should be afraid of how hungry and determined this team is. if UCLA keeps up this momentum, then it will come down to the final game versus USC to decide the Pac-12 title.
After being dominated by USC, Oregon traveled to Palo Alto to play Stanford. This was a dangerous game for the Ducks, as both teams are looking to get into the tournament, though most bracketologists are saying that Oregon will get in. The Ducks helped their cause with a gritty 71-68 victory over the Cardinal. Senior guard Chris Duarte fueled his team victory with 24 points, putting Oregon in prime position to receive a tournament invitation a few weeks down the road.
Colorado welcomes both Los Angeles schools to Boulder, as the Buffaloes are looking to seal a spot in the tournament. Coming off a close win versus Oregon State, Colorado played USC very hard on Thursday to earn a massive résumé-boosting win. On Saturday, the Bruins of UCLA will come to town in a game which could be a gut check for Colorado. We will see what the Colorado Buffaloes are made of as they enter a tough stretch to end the season with their last game being against Arizona State.
For Stanford to make its way into the tournament, the Cardinal may need to win out its remaining games. With help from some other teams in other conferences Stanford can make the tournament, but the Cardinal will need to hold up its end of the bargain by beating Oregon State and USC. Oscar da Silva, the Pac-12 leading scorer, will need to take charge and power his team forward.
The wild wild west keeps getting wilder every single week with the title and the race to March getting hotter every second. It’s bound to be an exciting ride to the finish.
Cole Koffler is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.