RTC’s 2013 Pac-12 Tournament Preview

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 13th, 2013

The 2013 Pac-12 Championship is upon us. If you want to know who the favorites, dark-horses  and long-shots are, or are just looking for a possible team to make a run all the way from Las Vegas to the Final Four, here is your guide.

bracket

While the Pac-12 may not be the best conference in the nation, this is going to be one of the most competitive conference tournaments of Championship Week. Any of the top nine seeds are capable of winning it, and every team playing in the first round of the tournament needs at least one win to feel safe on Selection Sunday. Outside of that top five, every team will be playing for their NCAA lives, which could make the first day of the tournament surprisingly entertaining. To make a run through a conference tournament, especially when you need to win four games in four days, you need three or more really solid players. UCLA has Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams, Travis Wear, and Kyle Anderson; Oregon has E.J. Singler, Carlos Emory, and Damyean Dotson; and Colorado has Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker, Andre Roberson, and Josh Scott. Those groups of players can lead their teams through the tournament, but the rest of the field behind them has only one or two solid players they can count on.

Two teams that aren’t currently locked into the field of 68 have a possibility of getting at-large bids through their play this week. Colorado may be in regardless, but they can lock up an at-large this afternoon with a win against Oregon State. Arizona State is about the seventh or eighth team out of the tournament at this point, so anything short of three wins in Vegas will keep the Sun Devils in the NIT. They also need help from the contenders in front of them, meaning ASU fans should be rooting for quick exits by the likes of Iowa, Southern Miss, and Mississippi.

Can Jahii Carson Lead Arizona State To The NCAA Tournament (credit: Arizona State)?

Can Jahii Carson Lead Arizona State To The NCAA Tournament (credit: Arizona State)?

Favorite: UCLA. Carrying the momentum off a regular season conference title, the Bruins come in as slight favorites for the tournament. They’ll likely face Arizona in the semifinals, a team they have more or less dominated in their two previous meetings. Any one of the top four seeds could win this thing (even the top five), but UCLA has the star power to carry them all the way through.

Darkhorse: Washington. Despite its season-ending loss to UCLA, I’ve really liked the way Washington has played as of late. Scott Suggs and Abdul Gaddy are scoring the ball with great efficiency, and their shooting ability can take Washington all the way to Saturday’s title game. The Huskies are definitely on the easier end of the bracket as they would likely get Oregon and California if they continue to advance after Wednesday’s game with Washington State. The Dawgs only lost by five on the road against Oregon and beat Cal by 15 on the road back in January.

Biggest Storyline: Seeds! Someone is going to string together a few wins and impress the selection committee this week, receiving a higher seed than they may deserve after an up-and-regular season. Can UCLA jump to a #5 seed? Can Oregon take the automatic bid and avoid playing a #1 seed in the Third Round? Good wins a plenty will be available for the champion, and perhaps some over-seeding could occur come Sunday afternoon.

No One Could Benefit More From A Seeding Pop Than Dana Altman And Oregon (credit: Reed Saxon).

No One Could Benefit More From A Seeding Pop Than Dana Altman And Oregon (credit: Reed Saxon).

Five Players to Watch

  • Allen Crabbe – Guard – California. The Pac-12’s leading scorer is also one of the league’s most creative offensive players.
  • Shabazz Muhammad – Guard/Forward – UCLA. May not lead the league in scoring, but Muhammad is the conference’s flashiest and most talented player. He’ll shine bright in Vegas as the one seed.
  • Roberto Nelson – Guard – Oregon State. Nelson is close to Crabbe in terms of ability to create his own shots and fill up the stat-sheet. If Oregon State pulls a first round upset of Colorado, it’s thanks to Bert.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie – Guard – Colorado. For the second straight season, Dinwidie is making his mark with the Buffaloes. But it’s not just the scoreboard where the sophomore shines; he can be an effecive rebounder and defender as well.
  • Dwight Powell – Forward – Stanford. An all-around good player; the last time he didn’t score in double digits was December 29.

Five More for Fun

  • Brock Motum – Forward – Washington State
  • Jahii Carson – Guard – Arizona State
  • C.J. Wilcox – Guard – Washington
  • Jordan Adams – Guard – UCLA
  • Justin Cobbs – Guard – California

Pac-12 Tourney Pick’Em

After @ParkerBaruh took home our regular season Pick’Em title, we brought the crew again together to fill out a bracket for the Pac-12 Tournament. Here are the picks, with the winners for each gamenamed:

@ConnorPelton128:

  • First Round (Worth One Point Per Correct Pick): Stanford, Colorado, Utah, Washington
  • Quarterfinals (Two Points): UCLA, Arizona, California, Washington
  • Semifinal (Four Points)s: UCLA, Washington
  • Championship (Eight Points): UCLA
  • First Round: Arizona State, Colorado, USC, Washington
  • Quarterfinals: UCLA, Arizona, California, Oregon
  • Semifinals: UCLA, Oregon
  • Championship: UCLA
  • First Round: Stanford, Colorado, Utah, Washington
  • Quarterfinals: Arizona, Stanford, California, Oregon
  • Semifinals: Arizona, Oregon
  • Championship: Arizona
  • First Round: Stanford, Colorado, Utah, Washington
  • Quarterfinals: UCLA, Colorado, Cal, Washington
  • Semifinals: UCLA, California
  • Championship: UCLA

Final Predictions

Champion: UCLA – The Bruins may not be the most deepest team in the Pac-12, but their talent more than makes up for it. They match up well with every team on their way to a conference tournament title.

All-Tournament Team:

  • G – Allen Crabbe, Jr.
  • G – Spencer Dinwiddie, So.
  • G/F – Shabazz Muhammad, Fr.
  • F – Dwight Powell, Jr.
  • C – Jason Washburn, Sr.

MVP: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA

Connor Pelton (297 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.


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