If UCLA was at full strength, the Pac-12 Tournament may have been the biggest lock in college basketball.

If Arizona hadn’t struggled down the stretch, the Cats might be heading to a second straight tourney title.

As it stands, the conference clash feels more unsettled than it has in years.

Here’s a look at the 10 biggest storylines in the Pac-12 Tournament, which starts Wednesday in Las Vegas:

Will UCLA run the table for a rare conference tourney title?

After an 18-2 conference campaign, UCLA enters the Pac-12 Tournament as the clear-cut No. 1 team in the league, and it’s not even close. A tourney title would be just the Bruins’ second since 2008 and 4th in history. That’s a little shocking. For comparison, Arizona has won twice as many titles and Oregon’s already on its 5th. Even more surprising is that UCLA has only finished runner-up 3 times as well. That means 17 times in 23 seasons, the conference title game has not featured UCLA, one of the preeminent teams in all of college hoops.

Now, after a brilliant regular season, the Bruins will vie to become just the 5th No. 1 seed to take home the Pac-12 Tournament. But one big question looms as UCLA heads to Las Vegas …

How does Jaylen Clark’s health impact the Bruins?

All eyes are on UCLA this week in Las Vegas, and not for all the right reasons. In a Pyric victory over No. 8 Arizona on Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion, Bruins star forward Jaylen Clark came up limp after a steal-and-layup, and he left the game early, only to return to the bench on crutches.

An MRI was scheduled for Sunday but results have not been publicized, but it didn’t look good for Clark on Saturday and that doesn’t look good for UCLA.

Can Arizona get right?

After suffering a 2 blowout losses in a 7-day period against Washington State and Oregon in mid-January, Tommy Lloyd got the Wildcats back on track with a 7-game winning streak that featured arguably the best individual performance by a Pac-12 player this year — Azuolas Tubelis’ 40-point pour-in in a revenge win over the Ducks just a few weeks after the loss.

But starting with a surprising 9-point loss at middling Stanford on Feb. 11, the Wildcats have lost 3-of-6 and have displayed little of the edge they showed in a terrific 24-4 start. A heartbreaking buzzer-beater loss to Arizona Stat and a 9-point defeat at UCLA followed, and both are forgivable, and if the Cats can bounce back from the rough stretch with a title-game appearance, a top-2 seed will still be in their grasp. Slip up any earlier, and they may fall a line down to a 3-seed.

Can USC clinch a top-8 seed?

If the prognostications of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi come to fruition, the Trojans are destined for one of the worst draws in the NCAA Tournament. Lunardi currently has USC pegged as the No. 10 seed in the South bracket, squaring off against 7th-seeded Duke for a potential matchup with No. 2 Purdue. Yikes. The Trojans deserve better after a 4th year of good basketball and consistent performance.

With a 1st-round bye and a potential quarterfinal matchup with Arizona State or Oregon State, USC will need much more than that to hop up to an 8 seed. A semifinal win over Arizona would go far. A championship upset over UCLA would go farther.

Does ASU run its way into the tournament?

The Sun Devils are the lone true bubble team in the conference, but even a late-season, last-second win at Arizona might not be enough to convince the Selection Committee that Bobby’s bunch deserves a bid. Hurley knows the stakes are high for his Sun Devils, who likely need a second win over Arizona in Las Vegas — never an easy task — if not an outright tournament championship.

Does ASU have the post presence to make that a reality? That’s the big question. Fending off Tubelis once is one thing. Handling him, as well as Oumar Ballo, as well as potentially Jaquez, Bona and Co. won’t be an easy task.

Can Dana Altman make it No. 4?

When asked about the pending loss of UCLA and USC to the Big 10 in 2024, Oregon head coach reminded everyone at Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco that it was his Ducks who have claimed several recent Pac-12 titles and not the Bruins nor Trojans. And Oregon certainly is light years away from where they were when Altman inherited the position from Ernie Kent in 2010. Since then, they’ve won it all in Las Vegas in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Unlike some of those seasons, though, the Ducks understand that the Pac-12 Tournament is make-or-break for their 2023 NCAA Tournament chances. Oregon lacks the true go-to option to weather the storm against teams like UCLA and Arizona, though. This year, it would take a truly inspired effort by the Ducks to make it to the dance.

Who is ripe for an upset?

Given their recent 3-3 stretch, the easy pick for this spot is Arizona. But we really can’t overestimate how valuable Jaylen Clark has been to the Bruins this year, and his absence may cause an identity crisis for UCLA. There’s not another player on the team — and maybe the entire league, and maybe even the entire country — who can step in for a Clark on the defensive end. Technique, athleticism, understanding of time and place…you don’t just replace that. The Pac-12 Tournament is not the ideal setting to have to tinker with things, to find the right lineup going forward.

Who wins Tourney MVP?

If the Bruins do end up taking home the trophy, it’s easy to imagine either Jaquez or point guard Tyler Campbell getting MVP honors, even if Cronin would be the one who deserved it. If Arizona wins, a tourney MVP award will be a nice consolation prize for Tubelis, who is probably going to be edged by Jaquez for conference player of the year.

But if I was a betting man, I’d love to put some money down on USC’s Boogie Ellis. He’s been one of the league’s best players down the stretch, and the Trojans definitely are in the running.

Is this the swan song for OSU’s Wayne Tinkle?

Tinkle is in the middle a reported $17 million deal that takes him through the 2026-27 season at a clip of almost $3 million a year. He re-upped his deal after the Beavers’ improbable Elite 8 run in 2021, after Oregon State won the Pac-12 Tournament and eked into the NCAA Tournament.

After a 2nd straight awful season though, Beavers fans are getting restless again. That Elite 8 run was only OSU’s 2nd tournament bid in Tinkle’s 9 seasons, and the Beavers have won just 13 games this and last year combined. It wouldn’t be a shock to see both sides decide to split, if Tinkle can get another similar gig.

What about Cal’s Mark Fox?

The embattled Cal coach could be on his last days after the Bears bottomed out this season, going just 3-28 and 2-18 in Pac-12 play, including a current 15-game losing streak. Cal lost its best player and leading scorer, Devin Askew, just 13 games in. They never stood a chance.

Neither does Fox. Cal’s not in a great financial position, but there’s no way they can stick with Fox after this season followed a 15-43 record in Pac-12 play in his first three seasons.