Blog Entry

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:51 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:04 pm
It's time to examine another mid-major conference tournament here on the site. The Pac-12, formerly the Pac-10, is in its first year as a 12-team league. In making the switch from 10 to 12 programs across all sports, the conference decided to also adopt a style of play in basketball similar to a West Coast Conference or Horizon League. It's been an interesting tactic. The league's received the same amount of attention this year as many from seasons' past, but all of the talk has about about the decrepit basketball.

Larry Scott, commissioner of the league, is seen as a visionary, but taking this sort of approach is certainly next-level. Dumbing down the play to test how the Selection Committee will treat your teams despite the Big Conference label? It's a daring, inquisitive, unorthodox approach, even if eye doctors along the West Coast have had an uptick in patient treatment since November. Almost any slick college hoops fan knows that if the Pac-12 was billed as the WAC, and if it wore New Mexico State and Nevada jerseys instead of Washington and Cal ones, this would pretty certainly be a one-bid league.

Instead, we've got Washington, Cal and Arizona fans still believing they're in the conversation and should be considered in the field, or in Arizona's case, maybe just out. If Washington and Cal fail to reach the Pac-12 tournament game and both teams still wind up in the NCAAs, we're going to have one really interesting conversation after the bracket is released -- especially if teams like Drexel or VCU, Oral Roberts or Harvard are left out.

It's been a long, long time since we had a conference tournament like this, where every round's outcome is completely unpredictable and the league is probably worse off for that.

Will this be one of the last Pac-12 tournaments in L.A.? Some have discussed a move to Las Vegas. (AP)


Stanford (7) vs. Arizona State (10): I saw Stanford up close when it played at Madison Square Garden in November. The team was better then. But, and this is a theme you'll catch on to here in no time, I think the Cardinal can win this tournament. Seven seed? Bah. Might as well be a No. 2 in this bracket. The Cardinal get Arizona State -- putrid -- in the first game, then have Cal, who they just beat 75-70 Sunday afternoon. In this comedy of errors that will be the Pac-12 tournament, Stanford stands a chance because it's one of the best rebounding teams on both ends in the country, and it is No. 1 in efficiency defense. Plus, we need Andrew Zimmerman to remain on television for as long as possible.

Colorado (6) vs. Utah (11): Tad Boyle for Pac-12 Coach of the Year? I think he should get it. I spoke with Boyle last July about this team and his prospects for the upcoming season. He was cautious. There was no way he thought finishing in the top half of the league was in his future. But he managed to make it happen with a roster that most other coaches would've struggled to get 15 wins out of. Boyle got 19. And he gets Utah, a team that was once so bad this year, we were asking if any BCS conference team was rated so low. Buffaloes should advance. Should.

Washington State (8) vs. Oregon State (9): A year from now, I think Oregon State's the No. 4 seed in this tournament with a chance at an at-large bid if it gets two wins. Just a broad prediction. This year, the team faltered after getting a win over Texas and then losing by just two to Vanderbilt in November. What could have been! Now it plays Wazzu, which swept the Beavers this season. Oregon State's Jared Cunningham owes us at least one more eye-popping dunk before his season ends.

UCLA (5) vs. USC (12): How the Trojans have dodged getting mocked this year is a bit of a mystery. The team's only conference win came at home to the second-worst team, Utah, and so USC finished 1-17. I mean, DePaul is laughing at that. And now Kevin O'Neill has to coach his team against its rival to start the tournament off. Speaking of UCLA, anyone else feeling a Pac-12 championship game run for the Bruins? After that Sports Illustrated piece came out, UCLA hasn't lost, and wouldn't it be something if they ripped through the bracket here. They'd get Arizona with a win over USC Wednesday.

-- Matt Norlander
Category: NCAAB

Since: Jun 16, 2010
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:29 am

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

Pac-12 is full of surprises. The past two NCAA tournaments, PAC-10 (PAC-12) only had two bids and they did some damage in the bracket, especially Washington in 2010 and Arizona in 2011. Also Washington of last year because many thought Georgia would pull an upset (I didn't think Georgia would have a chance). Will they bust a lot of bracket this season? It could happen. Washington can pull a surprise or two. 

Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:58 pm

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

No Oregon in the conversation? Why? They are the #3 seed ahead of #4 Arizona. You clowns must be reading Jerry Palm's rankings. Not that the Pac 12 is all that strong this year but the Ducks should atleast be in the conversation. If Oregon were to make it to the tournament finals IMO they should get an at large bid to the dance. The Ducks play very well on the road and may suprise a few of the critics should they be chosen. Next year is shaping up to be a better year for the Pac 12 and if they live up to the hype being generated they should send 5 or 6 in 2013.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:41 pm

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

Hi, I'm Matt Norlander, and I haven't watched a single Pac-12 game since the beginning of the season---When Stanford looked like they were going to take the title. 

In other news, Illinios looks like they are the pride of the Big 10, UNLV should go undefeated after their big win over UNC, Jim Calhoun's Huskies look like they should defend their title, and is anyone playing better than Xavier?

Some middle schoolers, not paid to write for CBS, actually have more knowledge than the author of this post.  Anyone who would still list Arizona as a possiblity and not list Oregon is just plain not paying attention. 


Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:39 am

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

Seriously dude. WEAK article. should just read this comment I wrote and will realize I am more qualified to talk about college basketball than you? 
You didn't even list the the whole Pac 12 bracket, just the teams that don't get byes!.
Plus, did you forget about Oregon? They are tied for second in the league, have won 4 in a row, and 9 of the last 10, and just beat a team 94-48. Nevermind that team was Utah. It was the worst loss in Utah history, and Utah has a history, a national title and several final fours.
  A guy on the Ducks literally jumped over a Utah player and dunked on him. The last guy on the bench hit 3 triples in a row!! They had Utah down 34-2 at one point!!
If you know anything about basketball, you can spot a team playing hot. and The Ducks are on fire. Don't be shocked when they win the Pac 12 and slide into the second round or sweet 16.

Yeah the Pac 12 is down this year at the beginning, due to more freshman and sophmores than any other conference, we got beat up early.
But don't forget the Pac 12 is the all time top conference (UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Cal, Oregon and Utah, half the conference!! all have national titles!!) and brings in top talent every year. Those freshman and sophmores have matured at this point in the year, and the Pac got some tough teams now. 
You need to study basketball. 

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:26 am

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

Thanks for the great read Matt...  Seriously?  The best CBS could do is have some guy who practically spits venom when talking about our conference enlighten us "what to watch for"?  You probably tease fat girls, too?  Draw on people's foreheads with indelible markers when they're sleeping?  Nice guy.

Washington, Arizona, UCLA, and Cal can beat anybody in the country, on any given day.  All deserving of tourney bids.  And definitely as tourney worthy as Drexel or Oral Roberts.

Washington in particular has some pretty great raw talent, including one of five national Freshman of the Year candidates.  A team featuring 8 freshmen, who narrowly lost to Marquette (one possession) and Duke (two possessions).  We had some bad losses early, but a combination of youth, and injuries to our top rebounder (Aziz) and top outside shooter (CJ Wilcox) played a part in those.  We've finally starting playing together as a team, but aren't immune to the struggles of the road, like a LOT of teams in NCAA.

Why don't you go push a blind kid down, or someting worse, Matt.  Go crack yourself up somewhere else, please.

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