Viva Las Vegas Day 2
At the end of day one my PAC12 bracket stands at 3-1 with only the Sun Devils 89-88 victory over the Cardinal putting a ding into perfection. Thanks to a career high 34 points and a record setting night by a freshman in the PAC12 Tournament.
On Thursday, the top four seeds in the PAC12 will see their first on court action in Vegas taking on the winners from Wednesday night’s matchups.
Chances are high that all the top seeds will advance without fear of an upset.
Game 5 – 12:00pm #1 UCLA Bruins vs. #9 Arizona State Sun Devils
The Bruins are going to have to cool off ASU point guard Jahii Carson after his 34 point effort against the Cardinal. After a forty five minute game, the Sun Devils will have to dig deep in the tank in order to get by a well rested and determined Bruins squad. A neutral site rubber match from the their regular season split, the Bruins know what the Sun Devils are capable of, not only from their squeaker against Stanford, but also from their head to head meetings.
Even though they each won at home, Arizona State outplayed UCLA both times. Look for this to be the game of the day on Thursday with the Bruins pulling out a nail biter.
Game 6 – 2:30pm #4 Arizona Wildcats vs. #5 Colorado Buffaloes
The #18 nationally ranked Wildcats enter their first game of the tournament on a bit of a roller coaster ride as they grabbed a fifteen point victory over the Sun Devils, but also dropped the previous two games to UCLA and USC.
The Buffaloes held onto a six point first half lead against the Oregon State Beavers to advance to the second round of the tournament. This meeting will serve as the rubber match between the two schools as they each captured a home court victory during the regular season. Look for the Wildcats to take advantage of the Buffaloes having to play back to back games.
On paper Arizona should move on to play Friday, but not without Colorado putting up a fight.
Game 7 – 6:00pm #2 California Golden Bears vs. #10 Utah Utes
Fresh of being awarded the PAC12 Player of the Year, Allen Crabbe and the Bears face a Utes team that they edged in Utah but crushed in California.
With Coach Krystkowiak throwing a number of junk defenses against USC, the Bears will have to patiently attack a variety of sets with more than just Crabbe.
Winning seven of their last eight games, the Bears are possibly the hottest team entering the tournament and regardless of how well they do in Vegas, will have a good chance of being part of March Madness.
Game 8 – 8:30pm #3 Oregon Ducks vs. #6 Washington Huskies
When the final game of the time began on Wednesday, who would have bet that Scott Suggs would have been the Huskies leading scorer with 19 points in their 64-62 victory over in state rival, the Washington State Cougars.
Day two brings the Dawgs a second straight battle against a northwest school as the Oregon Ducks look to get back on track heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Losing three of their last five games, the Ducks fell out of the top ranks, but should be a lock for Selection Sunday.
The Huskies on the other hand have won five of their last seven and will take the momentum of Wednesdays battle into what will be another chapter of their rivalry.
If the nightcap on Wednesday is any indication of what the Huskies are capable of at this point in the season, the Ducks will have a battle on their hands, one which the heart says they will lose, but the mind says they will win.