If it wasn't a sure thing that the University of Arizona men's basketball team will have to win the Pac-10 conference championship next month to keep its streak of 25 consecutive years in the NCAA tournament intact -- it is now.
That's because the Wildcats stunningly lost at home to Oregon State on Saturday afternoon (the first time that the Beavers had beaten Arizona in Tucson in 27 flippin' years!).
A bad loss indeed.
The Cats now trail league-leading Cal by two games and ASU by one, with five left to play in the regular season (USC is half a -game behind ASU, but the Trojans are ineligible for postseason play because of recruiting violations).
Up here in Tempe, the Sun Devils took care of their home court, beating both Oregon State and Oregon. Neither game was artistic -- few are this year in the depleted Pac-10 -- but wins are wins, and wins are what gets you into the Big Dance come March.
Though Arizona has played one of the nation's toughest schedules (27th, according to CBSsports.com), its 13-12 overall record isn't cutting it. ASU's 18-8 record is okay, until you realize that its strength of schedule is 75th among Division 1 teams.
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SHOW ME HOW
Both teams are pretty much going to have to win the Pac-10 tourney in Los Angeles in a month to have a chance at the NCAA's.
Coming this Sunday afternoon down in Tucson, a proverbial "big one" between the Wildcats and Devils.
Don't have a clue who's going to win, though Arizona pounded their rivals in Tempe last month.
We'll tell you what to expect later in the week as we figure it all out. Right.