The Pacific-12 conference released the bracket today for the Men’s basketball tournament. Aside from Arizona, the Pac-12 has been a tight race for second place. The Pacific-12 tournament is hosted in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a second year in a row. The 2013 winner was the Oregon Ducks after beating UCLA 78-69.
Oregon is a seven seed in this year’s tournament. The Ducks clinched the seven seed by sweeping the Arizona colleges. Oregon topped Arizona State 85-78 and Arizona 64-57. Oregon’s season can be described as waves of momentum that the Ducks have floated on. The Ducks won their first 13 games and were ranked number 10 in the country. Colorado was the first team to champion the Ducks and the loss generated a five game downward spiral. An Oregon swell has returned as the team has won seven games in a row, including a strong win over third ranked Arizona, and is arguably the hottest team in Pac-12 basketball
The final Pacific-12 regular season conference standings ranked in this order are 15-3 Arizona Wildcats, 12-6 UCLA Bruins and 10-8 Oregon tied with four other teams. The four other teams are the Colorado Buffalos, Arizona State Sun Devils, Stanford Cardinals and California Bears.
Among the five tied teams Cal has the lowest RPI ranking at 52 and Oregon has the highest at 26. A 26 ranking is two spots behind 24 UCLA and 26 behind first ranked Arizona. The 26 ranking is impressive enough to achieve a 10 spot in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. Oregon will predictably rise in seeding after Lunardi calculates the Arizona win in his system. Cal is the only 10-8 Pac-12 team to miss the elusive NCAA tournament, according to Lunardi’s bracketolgy.
In respect to the Pac-12 conference tournament men’s basketball bracket released today, Arizona State has the three seed, Cal with the four seed, Colorado with the five seed and Stanford with the six seed. The first round starts on Wednesday Mar. 12. First round matchups are 9 Washington vs. 8 Utah, 12 USC vs. 5 Colorado, 10 Oregon State vs. 7 Oregon and 11 Washington St. vs. 6 Stanford. The top four teams receive first round byes.
Second round matchup predictions are Arizona vs. Utah, Cal vs. Colorado, UCLA vs. Oregon and Arizona St. vs. Stanford.
Arizona beats Utah because of the neutral location. Utah’s strongest asset was their home court advantage with a record of 16-2. Arizona then takes down Colorado for a third time this year to reach the finals.
Oregon raises their win streak to eight games in a row as their ninth ranked points per game offense is to explosive for UCLA’s 219 ranked points allowed per game. In the next matchup Oregon conquers Arizona State to rematch Arizona in the finals.
Arizona is crowned 2014 Pac-12 champions displaying a sixth ranked defense that locks down and ends the Ducks win streak.
The Pacific-12 conference released the men’s basketball tournament bracket today and the parity within the Pac-12 this year should lead to an exciting round of games.
Commentary by Niles Olson
The Sacramento Bee