What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12
Is there a legitimate Final Four team in this league? Is Ben Howland's job still on the line?
1. Is there a legitimate Final Four team in this league?
It's difficult to say. UCLA and Arizona were the top two teams coming into the season, and the Bruins and Wildcats are likely the most dangerous teams in the league. UCLA won the regular-season title and can really score, but this Bruins team doesn't defend. UCLA has good balance and talent, but the Wildcats don't have a point guard to run the team and set the young big men up for easy buckets. Oregon had a terrific season, but much of it can be attributed to the coaching job of Dana Altman. I don't see the Ducks making a deep run in March.
2. Is Ben Howland's job still on the line?
Absolutely. Howland has won the regular-season title, but his fate likely won't be settled until the NCAA tourney. Former Bruins great Bill Walton has teed off on Howland all year long, and the UCLA fan base won't be content with just an NCAA tourney appearance. It may take a Sweet 16 appearance for Howland to stick around in Westwood.
3. Who is the bubble team to watch in the tourney?
There are a couple. Colorado has put itself in a questionable spot after a home loss to Oregon State in the regular-season finale. The Buffs were without star Andre Roberson, and Tad Boyle's team has won 20 games and finished fifth in the league. Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devils are also in the equation, and need to do some damage in Vegas.
Schedule: All games at MGM Arena in Las Vegas; March 13 (first round); March 14 (quarterfinals); March 15 (semifinals); March 16 (championship).
Title game: Saturday, March 16, at 8 p.m. (at MGM in Las Vegas).
THREE BEST PLAYERS
- Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA)
- Allen Crabbe (California)
- Jahii Carson (Arizona State)
Conference RPI: 6
KenPom.com rating: 5
Sagarin rating: 6
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