For the second straight season, ASU basketball is the final unbeaten team in the Pac-12. How does that affect their standing in the conference?
History has a peculiar way of repeating itself.
For the second straight season, Arizona State is the final unbeaten team in the Pac-12. Almost exactly a year ago, a 2-0 stint in Las Vegas propelled the Sun Devils to the national spotlight, and they’re back again after victories over 15th-ranked Mississippi State and Utah State in the MGM Resorts Main Event.
While the record is good, the implications are not. Two of the conference’s three ranked teams from the preseason (Washington, UCLA) have fallen out while 18th-ranked Oregon lost at home to Texas Southern.
Sure, ASU may not be undefeated at the start of league play. But they are once again the hunted. While UCLA has injuries and Oregon is without Louis King and Kenny Wooten, on paper, the Pac-12 doesn’t currently have any marquee teams.
A season ago, that was crucial. Despite USC having a 12-6 conference record and advancing to the tournament championship game, their nonconference woes and lack of quality wins kept them out of the NCAA Tournament.
If struggles persist, there’s a chance the Pac-12 could send fewer than three teams to the Big Dance. That’s not optimal for any Power 5 conference, much less the “conference of champions.”
As the Sun Devils return home tonight to face Nebraska Omaha, let’s take a look at where each team stands after a tumultuous Thanksgiving week.