Brackets don't have to been involved for a game to qualify as March Madness.
At least that's the way Colorado's Tad Boyle and Oregon's Dana Altman are approaching the final week of the regular season.
Both men were asked about the Pac-12 Tournament during Tuesday's coaches teleconference with the media. They pretty much provided the same answer:
"We'll worry about that next week, but we still have two games that are important for our program," Boyle said.
"For us it's kind of a distant thought. We've got two big games this week," Altman said.
CU hosts No. 19 Oregon on Thursday night at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffs (19-9, 9-7) can still earn the No. 4 seed and a bye at the conference tournament if:
1. CU beats Oregon and also Oregon State on Saturday.
2. Arizona loses to Arizona State on Saturday.
The Ducks (23-6, 12-4), who have already clinched a top-three seed along with UCLA and Cal, can win at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title and would be the No. 1 seed if they beat CU and then Utah on Saturday.
Boyle has won the last three meetings against Altman with each game decided by a single point. That includes CU's 48-47 win in Eugene on Feb. 7.
"I've got a lot of respect for Oregon and coach Altman," Boyle said. "They just make it really tough for you to score. I think they're just the most tough-minded, consistent team in our league. ... The one thing they bring is a toughness to the basketball court that you better be ready to match or they'll whip you."
The USC Trojans (14-15, 9-7) are also still in the hunt with the Buffs for the No. 4 seed at the Pac-12 Tournament.
Bob Cantu's 7-5 record since taking over for the fired Kevin O'Neill isn't the USC basketball story making headlines in Southern California.
Despite the fact that Tim Floyd resigned as head coach in 2009 in the with NCAA sanctions involving one-and-done star O.J. Mayo hanging over the program, the Los Angeles Times reported USC athletic director Pay Hayden met with Floyd for three hours about the current opening.
Floyd was not found to have committed any violations personally. He is currently the head coach at UTEP.
"I felt like I got my name back when I got offered a number of jobs when I left USC," Floyd told the Times. "Pat and I talked at length."
USC concludes the regular season with a road trip to Washington and Washington State. CU would own the tiebreaker based on its 66-60 win over the Trojans on Jan. 10 in the only meeting between the teams this season.
WSU's Bone on
the way out?
If the Buffs end up with the No. 5 seed they would likely play Washington State next Wednesday in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
The Cougars (11-18, 2-14) are currently in the No. 12 position with the Los Angeles schools set to visit Pullman to end the regular season.
Ken Bone says he's not paying attention to speculation about his job security. Washington State has lost nine consecutive games.
"That's not something I'm concerned about right now. I'm concerned with UCLA," Bone said. "Things that are not under my control, I don't worry about in any capacity of my life."
Despite its ascension to the top of the standings, UCLA was not voted into the Associated Press or USA Today/Coaches polls this week.
Arizona is No. 18 in both polls with Oregon checking in at No. 19 in AP and No. 25 with the coaches.
Cal received votes in both polls with UCLA coming in 27th in the coaches poll.
My ballot: 1. Gonzaga, 2. Indiana, 3. Duke, 4. Louisville, 5. Kansas, 6. Miami, 7. Michigan, 8. New Mexico, 9. Georgetown, 10. Florida, 11. Michigan State, 12. Kansas State, 13. Oklahoma State, 14. Saint Louis, 15. Marquette, 16. Syracuse, 17. UCLA, 18. Arizona, 19. Pitt, 20. Louisiana Tech, 21. VCU, 22. Oregon, 23. Ohio State,24. Cal, 25. North Carolina.
Arizona (13), CU (27), UCLA (30), Cal (43) and Oregon (49) are all remain in the top 50 in the NCAA's official RPI.
USBWA has named Arizona State's Jahii Carson and UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad as finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award honoring the nation's top freshman. ... UCLA freshman guard Kyle Anderson is the Pac-12 player of the week after averaging 19.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in the Bruins' sweep of the Arizona schools. ... During its seven-game winning streak, Cal is allowing just 56.7 points per game and has held opponents to 33.5 percent from the field. CU was 15-for-65 (23.1 percent) shooting during last Saturday's loss in Berkeley.
"I think there is an advantage. If you happen to win your first game then you're playing against a team that hasn't played," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson on not having a bye at the Pac-12 Tournament next week in Las Vegas. "This a new environment for everybody."
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanThorburn
(Previous week's rankings and team's record in parenthesis)
1. Cal (3rd/20-9, 12-5) -- The Bears are the hottest team in the West not named Gonzaga and playing great defense right now. Up next: Wednesday vs. Stanford.
2. UCLA (4th/22-7, 12-4) --Bruins are in good position to win outright regular-season title. Up next: Wednesday at Washington State.
3. Oregon (2nd/23-6, 12-4) --Ducks are only 5-4 in their last nine games but have point guard Dominic Artis back. Up next: Thursday at Colorado.
4. Arizona (1st/23-6, 11-6) --Wildcats' championship dreams sent to the cutting room floor after getting swept in L.A. Up next: Saturday vs. Arizona State.
5. Colorado (6th/19-9, 9-7) --Tad Boyle and Co. must solidify NCAA Tournament resume with two more wins in Boulder. Up next: Thursday vs. Oregon.
6. USC (9th/14-15, 9-7) -- The nothing-to-lose team no one wants to play in Las Vegas. Up next: Wednesday at Washington.
7. Arizona State (5th/20-10, 9-7) -- Sun Devils should represent the conference well in the NIT. Up next: Saturday at Arizona.
8. Stanford (7th/17-13, 8-9) --CU fans took over Maples Pavilion as interest in Johnny Dawkins' program wanes. Up next: Wednesday at Cal.
9. Washington (8th/16-13, 8-8) -- Huskies are 0-5 vs. ranked teams this season with No. 23 Bruins heading to Seattle. Up next: Wednesday vs. USC.
10. Utah (10th/11-17, 3-13) --Buffs would already have 20 wins if not for misstep in Salt Lake City. Up next: Thursday vs. Oregon State.
11. Oregon State (11th/13-16, 3-13) -- Beavers were just 9-8 in Corvallis this season. Up next: Thursday at Utah.
12. Washington State (12th/11-18, 2-14) -- Nine consecutive losses for CU's possible first-round opponent in Las Vegas. Up next: Wednesday vs. UCLA.
-- Ryan Thorburn