Four Thoughts: Pac-12 Tournament 1st RoundPosted by Connor Pelton on March 8th, 2012
Day one of the Pac-12 Tournament is complete, and we received two good games out of four from the basketball gods. Of course, the term “good” is being tossed around here; I just consider a good game is a game that is close. Here are four things that stood out on day one of the Pac-12 Tournament.
1. Oregon State’s resiliency — After leading by 16 early on, Washington State went on a 15-2 run to pull within three points of the Beavers. The Cougars would enter the locker rooms with a 39-38 lead, and despite the one point game, the Beavers looked done. All-conference player Jared Cunningham had just two points at halftime, perhaps playing tight due to one of his mentors, former Beaver star guard Gary Payton, was sitting courtside at Staples Center. The Beavers looked slow and fat and perhaps ready to call it a season, but that didn’t happen. Instead of forcing up shots in the second half, Cunningham fed tbe ball to Devon Collier and Joe Burton in the paint and got the job done on defense. Collier and Burton finished with 19 and 15 points, respectively, and it’s safe to say that the Beavers don’t advance without those two.
2. A great game to start the tournament – Going into the Pac-12 Tournament, everyone knew that if this game wasn’t good, day one of these first round games would be a disaster. Luckily, it lived up to expectations. It wasn’t great basketball, but it gave fans a little of everything: Big runs, hot shooting, spurts of offense, back and forth play, good defense, and a down-to-the-wire finish. None of the other three games came close to the quality of this one.
3. NIT bubble? – It’s not going to be enough, but Oregon State’s win at least should have the NIT selection committee talking about them. I still think they need to win one more game and advance further than the two other NIT bubble candidates, Stanford and UCLA. Oregon State fans should also be rooting against teams like Virginia Tech (3/8 vs. Clemson), La Salle (3/9 vs. Saint Louis), and St. Bonaventure (3/9 vs. Saint Joseph’s).
4. Survive and advance – Championship Week is right up there with next week as my favorite of the college basketball season, for the simple reason that all you need to do to stay in the contention for an NCAA Championship is keep winning. It’s really so simple, yet so amazing. Games like Syracuse-Connecticut in 2009 and every one of Georgia’s that same year. Four Pac-12 teams, Oregon State, UCLA, Stanford, and Colorado did that on Wednesday, keeping their slim championship hopes alive for one more day in Los Angeles.