20 Questions: Pac-12 StylePosted by Connor Pelton on January 30th, 2012
Inspired by last week’s “21 Questions” with Indiana, UNLV, Syracuse, and Murray State, here’s a look at 20 questions (and answers) related to the Pac-12 after the first half of conference play.
1. If you could pick one remaining game as a must-see for everyone in the country, what would it be?
- Washington at Oregon on February 9 will be a thriller. Not only is it a rivalry game in one of the best arenas in college basketball, but the winner will have a huge say who goes on to win this conference.
2. Which team from the bottom half of the conference has the best chance of coming back and winning the Pac-12?
- My money would be on UCLA and the Wear twins, but wins at Washington (February 2) and home against California (February 11) will be huge in deciding that.
3. Will Oregon State win a conference road game?
- They should win in Salt Lake City on February 4, but I don’t see another opportunity besides that. [Ed. Note: And obviously Oregon now.]
4. Since the Pac is in such a down year, let’s see how bad they really are. Starting at the top of last week’s “The Other 26”, how many mid-majors would knock off any Pac-12 team on a neutral floor?
- I would say seven, with the streak ending at Memphis. But I would comfortably take Gonzaga, Whichta State, Creighton, etc. against any Pac-12 team.
5. Down three with a minute left, who is the one player in the conference you turn to for the tying three?
- Tony Wroten, Jr. Although he is just a freshman, that doesn’t really matter this late in the season. I’d give the ball to him without a doubt.
6. Who will win Pac-12 Coach of the Year?
- I’m going to go with Dana Altman, but it’s still too early to tell. Mike Montgomery and Tad Boyle would make great choices as well.
7. Who will win the made up “Worst Pac-12 Coach of the Year”?
- Most likely Kevin O’Neill, but Herb Sendek and Ken Bone could make a late run.
8. Which player that has left/kicked off/declared ineligible has hurt their team the most this season?
- This is a tough one, but I’m going with former Oregon shooting guard Jabari Brown. Even though he only averaged six points in two games and the Ducks seem to be doing fine without him, it would be interesting to see where they would be instead with Brown still there.
9. Which team will win the Pac-12 Tournament?
- I’m going to take UCLA again. If they can avoid the first round by finishing in the top four, their team sets up nicely to make a run.
10. How many teams will make the NCAA Tournament?
11. Who are they?
- California and UCLA.
12. What seeds will they receive?
- The Golden Bears get a ten seed with their at-large bid while the Bruins get the rare power conference 13 seed.
13. Who will go deepest in the Big Dance?
- Both teams lose in the first round, but UCLA takes their fourth-seeded counterpart to overtime before dropping a heartbreaker.
14. How many teams will make the NIT?
15. Who are they?
- Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, and Arizona.
16. What seeds will they receive?
- The Huskies earn a seven seed after a one-and-done performance in the Pac-12 Tournament. Oregon is a three seed after narrowly missing out on an at-large bid to the Big Dance. Colorado barely sneaks into the field as a seven seed. Stanford finishes the regular season strong but ends up second in the final standings, and after flaming out in the Pac-12 tourney, end up as a one seed in the NIT. Arizona really doesn’t deserve to be in the field, but they get in as a six because it’s too big a name to pass up for the selection committee.
17. Who will go deepest in the NIT?
- Oregon gets all the way to the final before falling to perpetual NIT team Virginia Tech. Washington is eliminated in the first round, as is Colorado. Arizona and Stanford meet each other in the quarterfinals, where the Cardinal advance after a great game at Maples Pavilion. Stanford then falls to future champion Virginia Tech in the semis.
18. Who is the favorite to win the conference at this point in the season?
- It’s a toss up between California and Washington. The Huskies have the easier schedule down the stretch, so I’ll go with them.
19. Which team is most exciting to watch?
- They may be floating barely above .500 in Pac-12 play, but I love watching Arizona. From Solomon Hill to Brendon Lavender, with Jesse Perry and Nick Johnson in-between, the team is just fun to watch. Throw in the McKale Center’s magic and Arizona is definitely the team here.
20. Which is more likely to happen; The winner of the Pac has 7 conference losses, the winner of the Pac-12 Tournament will be a six seed or lower, or Jared Cunningham wins Pac-12 Player of the Year?
- All of these are possible, but I’ll go with the winner of the Pac-12 tourney being a six seed or lower. Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State will all likely fall into that category, and each of those teams could easily catch fire four days in a row.