So much for separation weekend.
Yet another wild run of basketball games within the Pac-12 Conference over the weekend did little to clear the muddled picture in the league race. In fact, with just three weekends remaining in the regular season, nothing seems certain beyond Arizona's two-game lead at the top of the standings.
The Wildcats, who dropped from No. 13 to No. 17 in this week's AP top 25 after a weekend split against the Los Angeles schools (UA lost to UCLA but rebounded to top USC) remain in charge of their own destiny for the top spot out of the league. Arizona has a favorable schedule down the stretch with a two-game lead over UCLA and USC, despite a road game Thursday against rival Arizona State, which re-entered the top 25 this week at No. 25 after sweeping USC and UCLA.
Following the ASU showdown, Arizona visits the Oregon schools before finishing the regular season at home against Stanford and Cal.
Behind Arizona, the Pac-12 standings are a jumbled mess. Only one game separates the second-place Los Angeles schools with the four teams tied for sixth-place with a 7-6 league mark, a group that includes the Colorado Buffaloes. The race for the league's top four spots, which secures a first-round bye at the Pac-12 Conference tournament next month, is pretty much up for grabs, with 10 of the league's dozen teams still battling for a top-four finish.
The up-and-down seasons being put together by the bulk of the Pac-12 has created the logjam. For instance, just a week ago upstart Washington was reveling in its upset of Arizona while Oregon was coming of the worst loss in eight seasons under coach Dana Altman. Then this past weekend the Ducks went out and swept Washington and Washington State, while the Huskies also lost in double overtime at Oregon State.
It might have been a make-or-break weekend for Oregon State, and the Beavers delivered with wins against Washington and Washington State. For his standout role in the sweep, OSU sophomore Tres Tinkle was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Tinkle opened the week by scoring 20 points against Washington State, shooting 5-for-10 from the field and 7-for-8 at the free throw line while adding five rebounds and five assists. Tinkle posted a double-double and very nearly had a triple-double in the double-overtime win against UW, finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.
The victories improved OSU to 5-7 in the Pac-12 and gave the Beavers breathing room from league cellar-dwellers Cal (2-11) and WSU (1-11).
Washington State, which hosts CU Thursday night, played without leading scorer Robert Franks in Sunday's loss at Oregon. Franks reportedly has a knee injury...The Cougars have lost seven consecutive games, a slide that began with a loss on Jan. 18 at the Coors Events Center.