Commentary

How bad is the Pac-12?

The conference's overall weakness could spell trouble for its bubble teams

Originally Published: February 21, 2012
By Drew Cannon | Special to ESPN Insider
Tony WrotenSteven Bisig/US PresswireTony Wroten and the Huskies are talented, but their at-large status is no sure thing.

The Pac-12 has been much maligned this season, and deservedly so. Since 2003, only once before has a BCS league finished outside the top six in average team Pomeroy rating -- the 2004 Pac-10 -- and there's an argument to be made that the 2012 Pac-12 is worse than that group of teams (its average team rating ranks lower). This season, the Pac-12 rates eighth in the Kenpom conference rankings, trailing the Mountain West and Atlantic 10 in addition to the other five high-major leagues.

This is how the league breaks down: There is one definite tournament team, the California Golden Bears, whose best win (according to RPI) is at the No. 55 Oregon Ducks. Oregon, the Washington Huskies and Arizona Wildcats are all on the bubble. The Stanford Cardinal, Colorado Buffaloes and UCLA Bruins could probably fight their way onto the bubble with exceptional finishes, but after them it really gets ugly.

The tournament profiles of the Washington State Cougars and Oregon State Beavers are awful, and those of the Arizona State Sun Devils and USC Trojans are really awful. The Utah Utes are historically awful.

The league's best three nonconference wins, by RPI: Stanford at home against No. 29 Colorado State; Stanford at home against No. 55 North Carolina State; and Arizona at No. 67 New Mexico State. Yes, this is true.


To see how the bubble stacks up, and get access to the analysis of Jay Bilas, Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and more, sign up for ESPN Insider.