Some commentators have said the team has 3 must-win games in a row, the first of which they barely managed today. More realistically, they need to put together a 7-1 run, which means win 6 of the next 7. Here's why:
1. The only "good win" this year was BYU and the only "good loss" this year was Kansas (and maybe Villanova). These count for less after today's upset losses by two of these foes.
2. There is no opportunity for a "good win" in the eight game stretch that started today. ASU: worst team in the conference. USC: middle-of-the-Pac who already beat the Bruins. St. Johns: coached by not-Wooden. Oregon & OSU: losing conference records. (All of the preceding 4 are home games.) Stanford: see the Oregons. Cal: middle-of-the-Pac who nearly beat us in Pauley. ASU: see above. One loss among these eight would be very bad, and horrid if it were to come at home. Two losses among these eight and we're out of the tournament discussion.
3. The final three games have two ranked teams, one at home and one on the road (the deadly Washington trip). If we win 7 of 8 prior to these, then we've reached the 20-win plateau and almost certainly assured a third place finish in the league. Then win one of the final three and at least one game in the Pac-10 Tourney and we are in. If we stumble twice in the 8-stretch, then we have to win two of these three and probably at least two in the Tourney, since we'd not be considered "on the bubble" until the final game.
Do they have what it takes? The margin for error is very small.