Blog Entry

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:33 am

By Jeff Goodman

There's no East Coast bias here. The Pac-12 stinks. Plain and simple. 

"No excuses," one head coach in the league texted me. "You're right." 

There's truly no defense for what's gone on out west thus far. The league has been absolutely manhandled. 

Sunday was just another day in the park for the Pac-12, one that saw South Dakota State pummel Washington in Seattle and then watched Virginia go out to Oregon and take care of the Ducks. 

A day prior, there was no shame in Gonzaga working over Arizona in Seattle. But what about Northern Arizona - with a 70-year-old interim head coach -- knocking off Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devils?  Or Georgia going west and beating USC at the Galen Center?

The league doesn't have a single victory against a Top 25 team. In fact, it's nearly impossible to find the most impressive win notched by anyone in the league. It's been so pitiful that a case can be made for Oregon State's come-from-behind win in New Jersey against a young Texas team as the flagship win for the Pac-12 thus far. 

This could be a two-bid league. Probably should be a two-bid league. 

We thought, entering the season, there were four teams that were capable of making a legitimate run to the NCAA tournament. Maybe even a handful - if you want to include an Oregon team that was thrown together due to desperation. 

UCLA appeared formidable on paper, but we quickly learned that one player can truly wreck a season (see: Reeves Nelson). Arizona isn't nearly as talented as some thought, especially with talented freshman Josiah Turner refusing to buy into Sean Miller's approach early in the season. 

Oregon's Dana Altman has already lost his top freshman, Jabari Brown, and is now reliant on a bunch of second-chance guys (i.e. Devoe Joseph, Tony Woods) and Washington, the most talented team in the league, earned its most impressive win against UC Santa Barbara. California was blasted by Missouri and also lost on the road to what everyone figured was a rebuilding San Diego State club. 

Stanford has been the most impressive team in the league thus far with a 9-1 record, but the Cardinal still hasn't notched a victory against an NCAA tourney team. The loss was impressive, against top-ranked Syracuse in New York, but the most significant wins have come against N.C. State and Oklahoma State - a pair of teams likely headed to the NIT. 

Don't even get me started on teams like Arizona State (4-6), Washington State (which lost to UC Riverside), USC (which already has seven losses), Colorado (which has lost to Wyoming and Colorado State) and a dismal Utah team. None will even be on the bubble for the CBI or 

Listen, I want to defend the Pac-12. I graduated from a school in the league. 

But I'd lose all credibility in doing so. 

The league is currently ranked ninth in the RPI, behind the A-10 and Missouri Valley and barely in front of the WCC and C-USA.  

However, if there's one positive spin I can put on the Pac-12's misery, it's the fact that this league is up for grabs, a complete toss-up right now. It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the regular-season champ doesn't get an at -large bid to go dancing - and obviously, the tourney winner gets an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. 

That means everyone in the league still has a shot. 

Well, maybe not quite everyone.


Since: Feb 19, 2009
Posted on: December 19, 2011 2:08 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

The PAC 12 is a ONE BID LEAGUE, right now. 
Key words: 'right now.' 

I'm pretty confident that by the end of the season, Arizona, UCLA, and Washington will all have proven themselves quite worthy of the tournament with Cal and Stanford having legitimate shots. Yes it's rough right now, but things will change.

I know I'm a husky fan, but this Washington team has waaaaay too much talent not to make the tournament. I mean they have some SERIOUS ballers. They took it to Marquette for the whole game, wasn't quite able to climb out of a huge early hole against Duke but definitely made it interesting. But then they get crushed at home by South Dakota St? I don't expect that to happen again. Lorenzo Romar is one of the best coaches in the nation and he will have his team ready to go for conference play. 

Dont count the Pac out quite yet. We still got a lot of time to get our say in. 

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:39 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

The PAC 12 is a ONE BID LEAGUE, right now. No way do they have two teasm that should be in the NCAA tourney. No way. They have failed every chance to prove themselves.

Since: Mar 12, 2008
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:31 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

I would like to thank Mr. Goodman for being more than kind in this article when it comes to the University of Utah. "Dismal" is a wonderful compliment when describing this team. The Utes watched almost the entire program transfer over the last 18 months. They did return four players from last year, only to see two of which get injured before the season started and a third get suspended for a time this season.
If coach K can win a game in conference with players he recruited after his April..then he deserves some nods as coach of the year in the down P12.

Since: Jul 3, 2008
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:30 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

Couldn't agree more.  This conference may be worse than it was two years ago when only Cal and UW made the tournament.  That was the worst year I can remember watching the Pac 10/12 in my lifetime.

That said, when all is said and done I believe Arizona and Cal will make the tourney, Stanford has a good shot, and possibly UW and/or UCLA if both stable their current issues.  But right now, yes a two bid league is accurate.

However the bottom of the league is disgustingly bad.  Realistically the 7th place team could finish the year below .500 overall.

Since: Feb 19, 2009
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:16 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

I totally agree with FOOT0108, the Pac-12 doesn't seem to do well in early season non-conference play any year. I don't have any stats on that but it's just something I've noticed over the years. Yet we have had at least one team in the sweet sixteen 9 of the last 10 years. Yeah, we're no Big East by any means, but never a BAD conference. The in conference schedule and then the tournament seem to really get the Pac teams going every year and we tend to perform well in the tournament. I don't think this year will be much different, we'll be fine.

Since: May 31, 2009
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:04 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

While Goodman acts as if he is slamming the league, he stills shows the big-TV market bias with his comment that the Pac 12 "... could be a two-bid league. Probably should be a two-bid league."  How about a one-bid league if teams continue to play so poorly? Let three or four teams in from the Missouri Valley -- Creighton, Indiana State, Wichita State and Northern Iowa all have some big wins -- or multiple bids from some other conferences from smaller TV markets if they have the wins to back up their claims. The process of inviting only the league champion from the smaller conferences and giving them a 9 or 10 seed while packing the tournament with teams from the big TV markets is turning the tournament into a farce.

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: December 19, 2011 12:48 pm

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

The Pac 10 is always a slow starter, every year.   But the one stream you seem to point out is that the general lack of quality wins by everyone in the league is somewhat surprising.  But, I also think that the Pac 10 has a tremendous conference season setup that will have them finish up with some pretty quality teams.  

So I do not agree with your basic premise here.  They will be fine.   When the dance comes and gets down to 16, which is the only true litmus test of conference strength, it all sort of works out.  The problem will be all of the Pac 10 schools will be poorly seeded making rounds 1 and 2 alot more dicey than someone who is at seed 1-3.   What they need to do more of is play tougher early games.   Look at Duke, they have already played 3 or 4 top 25 games before the conference even opens up.  Many of the schools are doing this now and I think it is crucial to do, even if you lose, in order to gain gth toughness that a 35-40 game schedule drives you to.

While a little biased, I think UCLA will get on track by the end of the season.  They simply have too much talent to not be a factor in the tournament.    It may take a while, but I think they will make some noise.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or