REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS
Pac 12 Tournament Schedule
|First round – Wednesday, March 8|
|1||12:00 pm||Pac-12 Network|
|Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 9|
|5||12:00 pm||Pac-12 Network|
|Semifinals – Friday, March 10|
|9||6:00 pm||Pac–12 Network|
|Championship – Saturday, March 11|
Pac 12 Tournament Preview
The Pac 12 is a weird conference. Currently, I have three Pac-12 teams in my top ten but the conference also has five teams ranked 99th or worse in Kenpom, including Kenpom #272. In terms of bracketology, Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon are obviously locks, USC will probably make the tournament as long as they win their first round game. Cal and Utah could have a shot at an at large bid if they were to make it to the championship, and the 7-12 seeds will need to somehow win the auto-bid if they want their season to continue. Let’s get into the predictions.
Pac 12 Tournament Predictions
The opening day will probably be filled with blowouts. Washington, Washington State, and Oregon State are all pretty bad and I have them losing to USC, Colorado, and California on the opening day. The only tough game to predict on Wednesday is Stanford-Arizona State. Arizona State can score really well, and Stanford has a group of veterans that are really fighting for a win, and in a tournament environment, experience matters. The Cardinal move on to the quarterfinals.
After Stanford’s upset in the first round, the Quarterfinals look like this: (1) Oregon vs (9) Stanford, (4) Utah vs (5) California, (3) UCLA vs (6) USC, (2) Arizona vs (7) Colorado. The top three teams face their first real tests. Stanford came within two of Oregon a couple of weeks ago, USC is a tournament quality team, and Colorado has wins over Oregon and Xavier. I still think the top three teams take care of business, but at least one of them will be close, my money is on USC-UCLA. The big quarterfinal is Utah-California, the winner of that game has a chance to play Oregon in the semis. The loser of this game also loses their small chance at an at-large bid. I see this game as a toss-up, but it will be Cal’s second game in two days, and Utah will have a chance to rest, so I’ve got the Utes advancing to the semifinals.
Oregon vs Utah. UCLA vs Arizona. The Pac-12 semifinals. Utah is led by a trio of upperclassmen. Kyle Kuzma, David Collette, and Lorenzo Bonam, who combine for 42.5 points per game, and all three are shooting over 50% for the season. On the other side, Oregon has a fantastic defense, not only do they limit their opponents scoring, but the Ducks can create momentum-changing plays like steals and blocks, and the talent gap is just too big, so the Ducks advance to the final. The other semifinal just as well could have been the final if it weren’t for tiebreakers. UCLA is the highest scoring team in the country, they have six players average double-digit point totals, and they are the best shooting team in the country as well. As for Arizona, the Wildcats have no losses to teams outside of the top 15, and of their four losses to teams in the top 15, half of them were without star guard Allonzo Trier. Arizona has a rare combination of talented freshman and experienced veterans. These two teams split the season series, each team won on the road, so this will be the rubber match, and I’ve got UCLA outshooting Arizona, and getting the win.
My Pac-12 championship is set. UCLA and Oregon, with the winner getting a 2 seed in the big dance. If the regular season meetings between these two were any indication, this should be a really good game. Oregon won by two in Eugene, and UCLA won by three in LA. Oregon prides itself on depth, as the Ducks’ bench can step in and score just as much as the starters. Dillon Brooks leads the team with 15.6 points per game. UCLA’s offense is the best thing in this game, but Oregon is a more even, well-rounded team on all sides of the ball, and that will lead them to a single-digit win over the Bruins.
Pac 12 Tournament Bracket
Wednesday, March 8
Thursday, March 9
Friday, March 10
Saturday, March 11