In The Paint

SI.com's All-American Hoops Blog

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By Tracy Schultz

It's a familiar tale for California. Once again, the Golden Bears had a chance to at least win a share of the Pac-10 title. They entered the weekend tied with Stanford in the top spot. That was before getting upset by a UCLA team that was without two starters, who were suspended for the game.

The Golden Bears' fate now lies in the hands of Stanford, which closes out the regular season with a homestand against Arizona and Arizona State. The Cardinal is undefeated at Maples Pavilion this season. It was just last year that Cal let a share of the conference title slip through its grasp when it was upset by Washington in the regular season finale. Cal isn't the only team that let an opportunity slip away:

A win at Tennessee wouldn't have helped Vanderbilt's standing in the SEC. The Commodores already lost their shot at the conference title when they were upset by Mississippi last week. They did have a rare chance to pull off a road win and season sweep over a young Tennessee team that has struggled with consistency all season. Despite their veteran lineup that includes a pair of seniors and juniors, the Commodores couldn't take advantage of the youthful Lady Vols. They're still winless at Thompson-Boling Arena.

North Carolina lost the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels' first loss to Duke in five games, kept that from happening. Instead, it's the Blue Devils that claimed the third spot. North Carolina, the preseason pick to win the conference is the No. 4 team. That means the Tar Heels will have to face Maryland, one of the hottest teams around, in the semifinals. The Terrapins have won nine straight.

Florida isn't exactly rolling into the SEC Tournament at full steam. The Gators, who at one time were in contention for the conference crown, have lost four of their last five games. They'll still have a first-round bye in the conference tournament, but losses to Vanderbilt, LSU, Arkansas and Georgia sent the Gators from the top spot to the four seed in the league.

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