The Emergence of the PAC-12

As of November 30…

Current Standings within the PAC-12: 

  1. #21 Colorado Buffaloes (5-0)
  2. #14 Arizona Wildcats (8-0)
  3. Stanford Cardinals (7-1) (68-67 Loss to Butler)
  4. Oregon State Beavers (6-1) (Loss to Oklahoma)
  5. #23 Washington Huskies (5-1) (Loss to Tennessee)
  6. #11 Oregon (6-2) (Losses to #8 Gonzaga and #6 UNC)
  7. USC Trojans (6-2) (Losses to Temple and Marquette)
  8. California Golden Bears (5-2) (Losses to #1 Duke and #22 Texas)
  9. Utah Utes (5-2) (Losses to CCU and Tulane)
  10. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-2) (Losses to Colorado and Virginia)
  11. UCLA Bruins (5-3) (Losses to Hofstra, BYU, and #3 MSU)
  12. Washington State Cougars (3-4) (Losses to SCU, Omaha, Nebraska, and CSU)

 

To look back on the 2018-2019 season: (OVERALL)

  1. Washington (27-9) (PAC-12 Runner Up)
  2. Arizona State (23-11)
  3. Oregon (25-13) (PAC-12 Tournament Champion)
  4. Colorado (23-13)
  5. Oregon State (18-13)
  6. Utah (17-14)
  7. Arizona (17-15)
  8. UCLA (17-16)
  9. USC (16-17)
  10. Stanford (15-16)
  11. Washington State (11-21)
  12. California (8-23)

Teams to Focus on: 

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Credit: Oregon Live

Oregon

    • Oregon has emerged so far as one of the front runners of the PAC-12 with Payton Pritchard leading the Ducks, as expected, with 18.6 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 1.6 SPG. As the workhorse for the Ducks (34 minutes per game), it is crucial that Pritchard maintains these numbers as a leader and main scorer for his team. The style of play of Oregon has been expected with their main three guards leading the Ducks in scoring. It also helps that Anthony Mathis is shooting 54.1% from three (20-37 3PM). Oregon is, by far, the team that should not be looked at differently because of their overall record. They have played exceptional teams in #8 Gonzaga and #6 UNC and have fallen short, however, they have most certainly proven that they can fight strongly against these extremely strong. Expect a small fall in Oregon’s ranking in the next AP Poll. 

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Credit: Arizona Desert Swarm

Arizona

    • Arizona, led by Nico Mannion (5.9 APG), Zeke Nnaji (19 PPG and 6.6 RPG), and Josh Green (1.9 SPG), has certainly exceeded expectations to this date. On November 28th, Arizona took down a strong Pepperdine team in a thriller that ended with a Nico Mannion game winner in its final seconds. If this team can utilize their best as efficiently as they are doing now for the rest of the season, the Wildcats will look to make a name for themselves and prove to the committee that they deserve a higher ranking. They look to finish the month of December strongly against #19 Baylor, #8 Gonzaga, and St. Johns. 

Colorado

      • The Buffaloes are a dark horse team that many college basketball fans may not be aware of. Right now, they are 5-0 with double digit wins over 4 out of their last 5 opponents. A junior out of Las Vegas that is doing it all for them right now is Tyler Bey, leading the Buffaloes in scoring (14.8 PPG), rebounds (11.6 RPG), steals (2.8 SPG), and blocks (1.6 BPG). He looks on to have a big impact in their biggest game of the season against #4 Kansas on December 7th. If the Buffaloes can prove their worth and force an upset over the Jayhawks, their resume for March will look more stacked than ever. 

Summary

Last year, the PAC-12 proved to be lackluster in its efforts to prove to the world their strength and ability to compete against powerhouse teams. The only strong side was the Oregon Ducks, who made a fighting effort all the way to the Sweet 16 against #1 Virginia, surpassing all expectations. This year, the PAC-12 is a force to be reckoned with. With just 3 bids in the 2019 March Madness Tournament, I believe that this number is going to increase and the PAC-12 is going to show their grit and force in the 2020 March Madness Tournament. My prediction is that Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Stanford are going to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament. My bold bet for this conference is that, similarly to last year, either Oregon again or Arizona is going to find themselves in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.

Cover Image Credit: The Ralphie Report