The Pac 12 has taken its second straight off year in college basketball, becoming the laughing stock of the Power 5 conferences. With Washington seeming like the only lock, (with Arizona State being a bubble team), this tournament could mean a lot to teams like Utah and ASU. Both these teams want to play in March Madness, but they’ll need to impress to even be considered.
Washington ran away with the conference title, finishing 15-3, with Arizona State finishing in second with a 12-6 record. In very last was Cal, who went 3-15, but did win their last three games. The tournament begins on Wednesday and ends on Friday, so be sure to catch all the exciting action in between. There is a clear favorite to win in Washington, but keep an eye out for a few potential upsets that could happen on the way. Here is how each game will go.
Round 1: Wednesday
8 USC vs 9 Arizona, 3 PM ET
Prediction: USC 74 Arizona 68
Both teams finished 8-10 in conference play, and the only time they played, USC crushed them 80-57. The trojans are on a 4 game losing streak, but they should have enough in them to get past this subpar Arizona team and make it to the next round.
5 Colorado vs 12 California, 5:30 PM ET
Prediction: Colorado 61 California 50
This may seem like a trendy 5 vs 12 upset due to California’s recent hot streak, but unfortunately this won’t be the case as Colorado is simply the better team. The buffaloes won their only matchup 68-59 earlier this season, and should do so again Wednesday.
7 UCLA vs 10 Stanford, 9 PM ET
Prediction: Stanford 84 UCLA 71
UCLA has had a roller coaster season, and despite the higher ranking they should be upset in this game. Starting center Moses Brown has been suspended, and when the two teams played, Stanford won by 24. Stanford moves on to round 2.
6 Oregon vs 11 Washington St, 11:30 ET
Prediction: Oregon 73 Washington State 52
Despite a disappointing season, the Ducks will live to see another day. This Washington State team is very bad, and if they can somehow pull off a win, that will leave many people shocked. Oregon won by 20 the first time they played and should do so again in this game.
1 Washington vs 8 USC, 3 PM ET
Prediction: Washington 61 USC 58
This game will be closer than it should be, as USC plays extra motivated after a narrow win over Arizona. Washington is just the better team in this situation however, and will advance to the semifinals.
4 Oregon State vs 5 Colorado, 5:30 ET
Prediction: Colorado 81 Washington State 80
This will be the game of the tournament. Both teams are very even, but the balanced scoring of Colorado will overpower the starpower of Tres Tinkle. Expect many lead changes in this one, including a crucial go ahead basket in the last minute by Colorado. The first time these two played, Oregon State won by just two, and Colorado will switch that around this game. If you’re going to watch any game in this lackluster tournament, make sure it’s this one.
2 Arizona State vs 10 Stanford, 9 PM ET
Prediction: Stanford 69 Arizona State 66
Call me crazy, but this Arizona State team has not been the same team we saw at the start of the season. They’ve lost easy games, and have played very effortlessly this season. The two teams split the season series, and March Madness will come early in the Pac 12 tournament, as a 10 seed will be making a semi final appearance.
3 Utah vs 6 Oregon, 11:30 PM ET
Prediction: Utah 78 Oregon 65
Oregon got lucky with such an easy matchup in the first round, but Utah is no pushover. Oregon won the regular season matchup, but Utah knows that they have a chance to win this tournament and make it into March Madness, and they will be coming full steam at this Oregon team. Expect a big game from Sedrick Barefield in this one.
1 Washington vs 5 Colorado, 9 PM ET
Prediction: Washington 70 Colorado 60
Washington are simply the better team. It’ll take a lot for Colorado to take down the Huskies, and they don’t have enough to do so. Washington went 2-0 against Colorado this season, and will make it 3-0 after this one.
3 Utah vs 10 Stanford, 11:30 ET
Prediction: Utah 65 Stanford 61
If you’re still awake for this game, I recommend you watch. The cinderella run will come to an end for Stanford, but not without a fight. Both teams want to make it to that final game, and this could be the last game for top 10 pick KZ Okpala. Despite the motivation to continue the upset streak, Utah will outplay Stanford and head to the conference championship.
1 Washington vs 3 Utah, 10 PM ET
Prediction: Washington 65 Utah 58
Washington is the best team in the Pac 12 and there’s no question about it. Utah will fight, but their tournament dreams will end after this one. This could help Washington a lot though and move them up a seed in the bracket. Washington swept them in the regular season, and will do so again on Saturday to claim the championship trophy.