Four Thoughts on the Pac-12 Tournament First RoundPosted by Connor Pelton on March 14th, 2013
Day one of the Pac-12 Tournament is complete, and we received good games all throughout from the basketball gods. From an overtime thriller to start the day, to the discovery of a possible Cinderella in the Pac-12 field, it was a solid start to the league’s little version of March Madness. Here are four things that stood out on day one of the Pac-12 Tournament.
- The Charity Stripe – The free throw line was the X factor in Arizona State‘s 88-87, overtime win over Stanford today. The Sun Devils made 14 of 17 free throws in the win. Stanford? It made one. ASU also shot 50% from behind the arc and got a 34-point performance from star point guard Jahii Carson. If Herb Sendek and company can keep up this kind of production on offense, their mediocre play on the defensive end of the court will be forgotten.
- Climbing the Bubble - The Devils also kept alive their flickering at-large hopes with the win, improving to 21-11 on the season and giving themselves a chance to pick up a quality win against UCLA tomorrow. A game late on Wednesday just down the road helped their chances as San Diego State bested Boise State, although the committee might still favor the Broncos’ résumé over that of ASU’s. Tomorrow the bubble action will pick up even more as Iowa faces Northwestern and Southern Miss plays UAB. Even with an upset of the Bruins, it’s tough to see Arizona State making the field if both the Hawkeyes and Golden Eagles get victories Thursday.
- Buffaloes are Safe – Depending on how things shook down below them, Colorado would have had a long and nervous wait until Selection Sunday if they had fallen to Oregon State in back-to-back games to close the season. But Colorado avoided that fate Wednesday afternoon, getting a huge half-court shot to close the first half and a 9-3 run midway through the second to defeat the Beavers and advance to the quarterfinals. Now the only question left pertains to seeding. The Buffs will likely be a high 12 seed if they fall to California tomorrow, but can get to an 11 by advancing to the semis or final.
- Runnin - On a day when the Utah Runnin Utes won their first ever Pac-12 Tournament game, runs played key roles in the three final games of the day. Colorado used the 9-3 run we just mentioned, and numerous mini-runs throughout the final eight minutes, to outlast Oregon State. Utah staved off a furious late run by USC to hold off the Trojans as SC went on a 14-2 binge to turn a 13-point deficit into a chance to take the lead with just under three minutes to play. The final game of the evening appeared to be over with 7:55 remaining as Washington led rival Washington State by 15 at 62-47. But the Cougars were determined to spend more time in Sin City, and so they decided to finally shut down the UW offense and tie the game up at 62 with 2:50 to play. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as LoRo’s Dawgs got a bucket coming out of a timeout and forced a Wazzu turnover and missed three-point attempt in their final two possessions to survive and advance.