The NCAA season has reached it first round of the postseason. With the regular season now in the books, we are in the heart of the conference tournaments. Come Wednesday, March 8th (aka today), a good majority of the conferences will have started their respective tournaments. Several tickets have already have been punched, with more to come each and every day in the coming week.
One of the tournaments that will be tipping off for the first time on Wednesday will be the Pac 12 Conference Tournament. Here at INSC we have you covered, with predictions down below. This tourney will conclude on Saturday, March 11th.
You can check out the seedings and a link to the bracket below.
(8) Arizona State
(10) Washington State
(12) Oregon State
Things have certainly been entertaining out West this season. The Pac 12 Conference has three teams that are considered to be top 10 by most (Oregon, Arizona and UCLA). But the problem is, the conference is extremely top heavy. There are two other teams with a chance at getting into the NCAA Tournament (USC and Cal).
So things will certainly be up for grabs here in the conference tournament. There will be a split between fans in terms of which of the big three will emerge with the auto bid. But before we can get to them, we need to make a run through the opening round. This round will feature four games. Those games include Arizona State vs Stanford, California vs Oregon State, USC vs Washington and Colorado vs Washington State. I see these games shaking out as follows: AZ State 75-74, California 75-62, USC 81-64 and Colorado 81-71.
Oregon would therefore get Arizona State in their opening game. Remember when I said this was a top-heavy conference? Well, it is going to show here. Arizona State really will have no chance in this game. Oregon should roll over them with ease. So give me the Ducks 84-75.
The only top four seed that is not likely to be Big Dance bound is Utah. In their opening game, I have them set to square off with California, who find themselves on the bubble. Well statistically, Utah is actually a solid team. If they entered the NCAA Tournament, I could see them winning a game. They will make their claim in this one, taking down Cal by the score of 70-67.
UCLA is probably the best offensive team in the country. They have a ton of weapons, meaning they can rely on just about anyone on the court when in need of a big bucket. Meanwhile, USC is nothing special on the offensive side of the ball. Given they have nothing that makes them stand out above the Bruins, this is an easy pick. Give me UCLA 84-77.
Arizona gets Colorado in their first game according to my projections. Now, I really like Arizona. And Colorado, while they have one or two nice qualities, can have some trouble putting the ball in the net at times. That can be a problem. Especially against a team of Arizona’s caliber. So give me the favorites, 78-71.
No real surprise here, but Oregon is in the semis. They will be tasked with facing Utah, which should not come as much of a surprise given they are the four seed. Now I may be higher on Utah than most people. But I do see this as being a competitive and close game. So call me crazy if you want. But I am not crazy enough to pick them. Oregon by a point, 74-73.
Now if we do not get Arizona vs UCLA in the semis, fans in Las Vegas will be highly disappointed. These two giants are a sure bet to put on a show. This should definitely be a fun game to watch. Forget what happened between the two in the regular season, as this game will be its own entity. When things finish up, I am taking UCLA thanks to the tremendous offensive ability. They can score from all over, taking this one 78-76.
That sets us up for an Oregon-UCLA final. Now, who is going to complain with that? Answer: no one. This will be just as good, if not better, than the two semifinal games. This game’s outcome could very well determine the fourth one seed if the committee decides to screw over Gonzaga or is not convinced an ACC team is one seed worthy. Oregon likely has the upper hand in gaining the one spot, but not after this one. I am going with the Bruins 80-78.
So what do you think? Who will emerge with a NCAA Tournament bid? Will it be an upset, or will the top seed claim their auto bid? Tell us in the comments!