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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-12 tournament preview: Sin City full of opportunity

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The Arizona men’s basketball team rejoices after winning the Pac-12 championship and beating Stanford 91-69 in McKale Center on Saturday. While Arizona does not need to win the Pac-12 tournament to make the NCAA tournament, several teams from the middle to bottom of the conference need successful weekends to get in.

The Pac-12 Conference’s men’s basketball’s regular season came to an end last week with a few surprises and another championship for Arizona. Tonight, the quest for the Conference of Champions’ automatic berth into the NCAA tournament begins for the bottom eight teams, all of which seemingly need to win the tourney to make it to the Big Dance.

No. 1 seed Arizona (28-3, 16-2 Pac-12)

Arizona beat No. 2 seed Oregon by 18 and 34 points and went 5-0 against the Ducks, Utah and UCLA. Plus, it’ll be pissed off that it lost Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

First tournament game: winner of No. 8 California and No. 9 Washington State

DW odds to win the tournament: 2/1

No. 2 seed Oregon (23-8, 13-5)

The Ducks started from the bottom (three players were kicked off the team for allegedly gang raping a female student, who is suing the school), and now they’re here. Apparently impressed by how UO dealt with the scandal, Pac-12 coaches even gave it Coach of the Year and Player of the Year awards, truly a black eye for the league.

First tournament game: winner of No. 7 Oregon State and No. 10 Colorado

DW odds to win the tournament: 5/1

No. 3 seed Utah (23-7, 13-5)

The second best team in the conference all year long, the Utes let Oregon slide into the second slot by losing late in the season to the Ducks, Arizona and Washington. The loss to the Huskies was an absolute stunner, as UW had lost 13 of 14, only beating lowly Washington State.

First tournament game: winner of No. 6 Stanford and No. 11 Washington

DW odds to win the tournament: 4/1

No. 4 seed UCLA (19-12, 11-7)

According to ESPN’s Bracketology, and everyone knows Joe Lunardi’s picks are the word of God, the Bruins are currently out of the NCAA tournament. Good thing UCLA plays well in Las Vegas, Nev., as it won last year’s Pac-12 tournament.

First tournament game: winner of No. 5 ASU and No. 12 USC

DW odds to win the tournament: 8/1

No. 5 seed ASU (17-14, 9-9)

The Sun Devils shockingly rose to the fifth seed by winning five of their last seven after starting Pac-12 play 0-4. ASU took Oregon to overtime and beat Arizona, UCLA and Stanford, but it’s 2-9 on the road and 0-2 on neutral courts.

First tournament game: No. 12 USC (11-19, 3-15)

DW odds to win the tournament: 20/1

No. 6 seed Stanford (18-12, 9-9)

Once the third-best team in the conference, the Cardinal limped into the postseason and gave away its at-large spot in the NCAA tournament. Stanford is talented, but it’s lost five of its last seven.

First tournament game: No. 11 Washington (16-14, 5-13)

DW odds to win the tournament: 16/1

No. 7 seed Oregon State (17-13, 8-10)

If the Pac-12 tournament was on campus, like the first two Pac-10 tournaments, and at OSU, the Beavers would be a favorite. However, since it’s not in Corvallis, Ore., Oregon State, which was 2-9 on the road and 0-2 on neutral courts, is out of luck.

First tournament game: No. 10 Colorado (14-16, 7-11)

DW odds to win the tournament: 20/1

No. 8 seed California (17-14, 7-11)

The Golden Bears’ renaissance was impressive. They climbed out of the basement after losing six in a row and eight of nine, but their tournament stay will likely be brief. They’ve lost five of their last six games.

First tournament game: No. 9 Washington State (13-17, 7-11)

DW odds to win the tournament: 25/1

No. 9 seed Washington State (13-17, 7-11)

The Cougars surprised everyone by starting conference play 3-1, including a win over Oregon, who fired current WSU coach Ernie Kent five years ago. Washington State fell back to Earth after that, though, finishing the regular season 4-10.

First tournament game: No. 8 California (17-14, 7-11)

DW odds to win the tournament: 30/1

No. 10 seed Colorado (14-16, 7-11)

Once considered a threat to Arizona’s repeat championship, the Buffaloes fell hard after two of their big three, Askia Booker and Josh Scott, were injured. With them, they are a double-digit seed that can make a deep run.

First tournament game: No. 7 Oregon State (17-13, 8-10)

DW odds to win the tournament: 18/1

No. 11 seed Washington (16-14, 5-13)

The Huskies started the season 11-0, matching the best start in UW coach Lorenzo Romar’s stint in Seattle, before losing seven in a row and 10 of 11. Washington capped the season with a shocking upset of Utah, which gave it some hope.

First tournament game: No. 6 seed Stanford (18-12, 9-9)

DW odds to win the tournament: 30/1

No. 12 seed USC (11-19, 3-15)

The Trojans have a shot against ASU, as they only lost by five in Tempe, but 12 seeds are winless in the Pac-12 tournament all-time. Plus, USC hasn’t won a game in the conference tournament since 2011.

First tournament game: No. 5 seed ASU (17-14, 9-9)

DW odds to win the tournament: 100/1

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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