Let’s Get It On
Hey, not too shabby having only two teams in red on my PAC12 Tournament bracket.
So now comes the big moment, not just for the Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins, but more importantly for me as a prognosticator.
If Friday night’s semi final battle against the Arizona Wildcats (66-64) is any indication of what Saturday evenings final will bring, fans of both the Bruins and Ducks are in for a treat.
For the first time since 2008, the Bruins will play for the PAC12 title. The Ducks, as a result of their 64-45 victory over the surprising Utah Utes will have the opportunity to raise the PAC12 banner, one which they last claimed in 2007.
GAME 13 – 8:00pm #1 UCLA Bruins vs. #3 Oregon Ducks
The Bruins, battle tested from last night’s meeting with the Wildcats may come into the championship game a little fatigued, while the Ducks, as a result of their blowout against the Utes may have fresher legs. The key words here are fresh legs, or more to the point a foot.
In the Bruins final play of the evening and one that sent them to the championship game, standout freshman guard Jordan Adams broke his right foot (specifically his fifth metatarsal.
As former coach Bobby Knight has often pointed out, the conference tournaments are a waste of time and can often lead to the misfortune of players and teams, in this case Adams and the Bruins.
The loss of Adams is a big hit for the Bruins who will now have to rely on sophomore backup Norman Powell to keep up with the Ducks freshman stud Damyean Dotson.
When you look at the two teams, one is (possibly was) favored by their backcourt as Larry Drew II and Shabazz Muhammad will have to step up their production even more in the absence of their backcourt mate. The Ducks on the other hand counter up front with E.J. Singler, Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi.
The loss of Adams will be the story of the game and will heavily impact the final result. The Bruins could play heavily inspired ball, motivated by the loss of their teammate or the Ducks could capitalize on the unfortunate injury and take advantage of a team that is not at full strength physically (and possibly mentally / emotionally).
Both teams have had their struggles in the regular season, in and out of the top 25 rankings and both team have had battles in their road to the PAC12 championship game. UCLA scraped by both Arizona schools with a five point victory over the Sun Devils and a two pointer over the Wildcats.
The Ducks on the other hand needed overtime to defeat the Washington Huskies before a relatively easy semi final against the Utes.
With multiple story lines present on Saturday night, the PAC12 Championship game has the makings of a great evening of hoops, one that will hopefully kick start putting the conference back on the NCAA basketball map.
When all is said and done and they turn down the lights at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, look for the Ducks to be carrying the championship banner back to Oregon.