Viva Las Vegas
The calm before the storm is over…almost.
After many hours of blood, sweat and tears, for those who sit outside of the top 25 rankings, now is a second chance to make a first impression.
Outside of the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins, who are nestled in the ranks of the elite, the rest of the PAC-12 has struggled this year overall and unless they capture the PAC-12 tournament crown, they will either be N.I.T, C.B.I or S.O.L. bound.
MGM GRAND LAS VEGAS, NV
TOP FOUR SEEDS RECEIVE A BYE TO THURSDAY
(#1 – UCLA, #2 – California, #3 – Oregon, #4 – Arizona)
*Predicted winners in italics*
GAME 1 – 12:00pm
#8 Stanford Cardinal vs. #9 Arizona State Sun Devils (Winner vs. UCLA)
Both teams finished with identical 9-9 PAC12 records, however it is the Sun Devils who enter the tournament in a mild slump, losing four straight.
The Cardinal on the other hand won their final two games and hold a victory over ASU from their conference schedule, albeit by only three points.
Flip a coin on this one, either way the victor will face a near certain “L” in the second round.
GAME 2 – 2:30pm
# 5 Colorado Buffaloes vs. # 12 Oregon State Beavers (Winner vs. Arizona)
There will be no 5-12 upset in the PAC12 tournament, Cinderella will have to wait for the Big Dance to make an appearance.
Along with the WSU Cougars, the Beavers were the gooey stuff at the bottom of the PAC12 barrel this season, taking another step backwards losing three more games than they did last year (finishing 4-14).
The Beavers have pretty much hit rock bottom and now can begin the process of rebuilding their program, as the only direction that they can go is up.
GAME 3 – 6:00pm
#7 University of Southern California Trojans vs. #10 Utah Utes (Winner vs. California)
USC played out a better regular season than most expected, finishing with a 9-9 conference record.
The Utes on the other hand played pretty much on par with pre-season predictions at 5-13.
Right now the lower seed is entering the tournament on a high note with a pair of convincing victories over the Beavers and the (at the time 19th ranked) Oregon Ducks.
On paper USC should continue their season, but every tournament needs an upset and this could be it.
GAME 4 – 8:30pm
#6 Washington Huskies vs. #11 Washington State Cougars (Winner vs. Oregon)
The Huskies have had their way with the Cougars this season (who hasn’t!).
Even though the Brock Motum led squad has had a strong end to the season with a pair of victories over USC and UCLA, they had far more valleys than peaks this season, including a nine game losing streak.
While the Dawgs record was nothing to bark at (9-9 compared to 4-14), they are entering the tournament winning four of their final six games.
Chances of either team winning the “chip” are less than minimal, so for fans of both schools, this match up of the “Apple Cup” can and will be their own version of March Madness.
Look for Lorenzo Romar’s team to extract some redemption after last years disappointing tournament outting and advance to a second round meeting with the Ducks.