Sam Connon, assistant Sports editor
With three weekends left on the Pac-12 slate, one team stands above the rest.
Washington (21-5, 12-1 Pac-12) may have lost its bid at an undefeated conference season against Arizona State (18-8, 9-5) on Feb. 9, but the Huskies still have a 3.5-game hold on first place.
Arizona State pulled even with Oregon State (16-8, 8-4) to take a share of second place when it beat Stanford (14-12, 7-7) 80-62 on Wednesday night. Just 2.5 games separate the second-place Sun Devils from the ninth-place Bruins.
Colorado (16-10, 7-7) was the lone Pac-12 team to boast a winning streak longer than two games entering this week, but it saw its five-game winning streak broken at the hands of Washington State (11-15, 4-9) on Wednesday.
Two of the conference’s bottom three teams – Cal (5-20, 0-13) and Arizona (14-12, 5-8) – will face off Thursday, but the Golden Bears are a near-lock to finish in last place.
Oregon (15-10, 6-6) is half a game behind USC (14-12, 7-6) and half a game ahead of UCLA (13-13, 6-7). The Bruins will play the Ducks on Saturday and will host the Trojans on Feb. 28.
Angie Forburger, assistant Sports editor
For the fourth time this season, all eight Pac-12 gymnastics teams are ranked in the top 25.
No. 2 UCLA (6-0, 5-0 Pac-12) and No. 4 Utah (7-0, 5-0) are both still undefeated – but not for long. The Bruins and Utes will face off Saturday in Salt Lake City. UCLA is coming off its highest-scoring meet of the season against No. 25 Arizona (1-5, 1-4), while Utah most recently took down No. 23 Stanford (0-5, 0-5).
Prior to their loss to the Bruins, the Wildcats suffered back-to-back losses to the Utes and No. 12 Oregon State Beavers (3-2, 3-2). Arizona will next travel to Stanford on Sunday.
The Cardinal has yet to win a Pac-12 dual meet and, after hosting the Wildcats, will only have one more meet remaining against the Bruins before the Pac-12 championships.
The Beavers took home their second straight win with a victory over the No. 15 California Golden Bears (1-4, 1-3) on Sunday. Oregon State will next travel to No. 20 Arizona State (2-2, 1-2) for its last Pac-12 dual meet of the season.
Coming off a win over Stanford on Feb. 10, Arizona State finished in third place at Friday’s Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City against No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 18 Washington (2-3, 2-2) and George Washington.
The Huskies finished in second place at the Challenge and will next head to Berkeley on Saturday in their final Pac-12 dual meet this year.
After finishing in first place at a tri-meet against Arizona State and No. 17 BYU on Feb. 2, Cal has dropped two straight meets against Utah and Oregon State.
The Pac-12 championships in West Valley City, Utah are just over a month away.
Gabriel McCarthy, assistant Sports editor
Teams across the Pac-12 competed at the ITA indoor championships this weekend.
No. 14 UCLA men’s tennis (4-3) defeated No. 12 Notre Dame 4-1 in the round of 16 before falling to No. 2 Wake Forest 3-4 in the quarterfinals. The latter match was decided by the contest between UCLA freshman Mathew Tsolakyan and Wake Forest’s Melios Efstathiou at No. 4 singles, where Tsolakyan lost. The Bruins’ highest appearance in the ITA singles rankings is freshman Govind Nanda at No. 53.
No. 24 USC (6-5) bested No. 7 Florida in its first round of tournament play before falling to No. 3 Texas 0-4 in the quarterfinal round. USC finished consolation play with a loss to No. 4 Virginia 1-4. The Trojans’ Daniel Cukierman fell to No. 11 in the most recent ITA singles rankings from his previous rank of No. 4.
No. 6 Stanford (7-2) fell to Virginia 2-4 in its first round of tournament play. However, Stanford posted two wins in consolation play over No. 30 Tulane and Florida, winning 4-0 and 4-1, respectively. Stanford’s highest-ranked singles player is Axel Geller, appearing at No. 13 in the ITA singles rankings.
The Pac-12 player ranked the highest in the ITA singles rankings is USC’s Cukierman, whereas the highest-ranked doubles pair is Brandon Holt and Riley Smith of USC – appearing at No. 21 in the ITA doubles rankings.