The Huskies and Cougars were only interested bystanders Thursday, while four other Pac-10 games played out.
But the result of those four games added intrigue to the Apple Cup of basketball at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Pullman.
UCLA's win over Stanford on Thursday wrapped up a third-straight Pac-10 title for the Bruins.
However, it also gave the Huskies the second tie-breaker against any team they might yet catch in the standings.
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If the Huskies win Saturday, they would tie the loser of the Arizona-Oregon game, and they would also catch Arizona State if the Sun Devils somehow lost to Oregon State.
The first tie-breaker for Pac-10 tournament seeding is head-to-head competition. However, because Washington split with the Sun Devils, Ducks and Wildcats, they would have to move on to the second tie-breaker: record against the highest-ranked opponent. Because Washington split with champion UCLA, while the other three teams were swept, the tie-breaker would go to UW.
That means that if UW beats WSU on Saturday, the Huskies would move up in the standings: either to seventh place, which would mean a Wednesday opening game against the Pac-10-winless Beavers; or they could even jump as high as sixth, thereby avoiding a Wednesday game altogether. (However, that would depend on ASU losing to OSU plus the complication of a multi-team tie-breaker, which is the results of collective head-to-head competition among the tied teams.)
If UW loses to WSU, they would remain in eighth place -- unless the Golden Bears beat UCLA -- but in either case would open the tournament at 6 p.m. Wednesday vs. Cal.
As for the Cougars, they slipped ito a third-place tie with Southern California by virtue of the Trojans' overtime win over the Golden Bears. That means a WSU loss to the Huskies combined with a USC win over Stanford would drop the Cougars into fourth place. However, if both WSU and USC win or if they both lose, then the Cougars would become the No. 3 seed due to their head-to-head sweep of the Trojans.
Here are the current conference standings:
Here is the Saturday schedule:
11 a.m., Stanford at USC, CBS
12:30 p.m., Cal at UCLA, ABC
2:30 p.m., ASU at OSU, FSN
4:30 p.m., UW at WSU, FSN
7:30 p.m., Arizon at Oregon, FSN
And here is a link to the Pac-10 tournament Web site.