Pac-12 Postseason DestinationsPosted by AMurawa on March 18th, 2013
After a great Pac-12 Tournament wrapped up Saturday night, we found out Sunday exactly where all of the conference’s teams will be wrapping up their seasons. Five teams will take part in the Big Dance, three others will compete in the NIT, while four teams (Oregon State, USC, Utah and Washington State) have completed their seasons. We’ll break down everybody’s destination below.
UCLA – NCAA, #6 seed in South region, vs. Minnesota, 3/22, 6:57 PM PDT, TruTV – The conference’s regular season champion may or may not have gotten dinged a seed line because of Jordan Adams’ season-ending injury, but either way, the Selection Committee sure didn’t do them any favors. Aside from sending them to Austin, Texas, for their opening round game (the farthest any Pac-12 team has to travel), the Bruins land perhaps the toughest match-up that they could have found at the #11 seed. The Golden Gophers are big, athletic and deep, all things that could cause serious trouble for Ben Howland’s team. If instead UCLA had been matched up with either Bucknell, Belmont or the winner of the Saint Mary’s/Middle Tennessee State first-round game, the Bruins would likely be strong favorites to at least make it to Sunday. Instead, UCLA opened a two-point underdog in Las Vegas to the Golden Gophers.
Arizona – NCAA, #6 seed in West region, vs. Belmont, 3/21, 4:20 PM PDT, TNT – The Wildcats got a fair seed, but they’ll face a Belmont team that is perennially considered a possible Cinderella this time of year. One of the nation’s best shooting teams, the Wildcats will have to extend Nick Johnson, Mark Lyons and Kevin Parrom out to pick up the Bruins’ shooters upcourt, but if UA can cause problems for those shooters, they may have too much size and athleticism for their opponent.Colorado – NCAA, #10 seed in East region, vs. Illinois, 3/22, 1:40 PM, PDT, TNT – Tad Boyle and company also earned a pretty fair seed. And what’s more, they’ve got a match-up that could really work in their favor. They’ll need to focus the majority of their energy on slowing Brandon Paul, but the Buffaloes can stick Spencer Dinwiddie on him and throw some help his way (maybe via Andre Roberson) to hopefully slow the prolific scorer.
California – NCAA, #12 seed in East region, vs. UNLV, 3/21, 4:27 PM PDT, TruTV – Here’s where things start to get a little weird for the conference, but this one seemed to go in the Pac-12’s favor. Nobody could reasonably have expected a much higher seed for the Golden Bears, but the fact that they get to play in San Jose, within easy driving distance of their home in Berkeley, is a major boon for Mike Montgomery’s team. Still, it is quite odd that they’ll be facing a UNLV team that already beat them in Berkeley earlier in the year.
Oregon – NCAA, #12 seed in Midwest region, vs. Oklahoma State, 3/21, 1:40 PM PDT, TNT – The Pac-12’s tournament champion and second-place team in the regular season gets a 12-seed? Huh? Well, Selection Committee chairman Mike Bobinski cleared things up later when he mentioned that Oregon actually had to be dropped a seed line and were originally meant to be an #11 seed. So, um, isn’t that still really low for this team? Seems like expectations prior to announcement of the bracket were somewhere around a #7 or a #8. Well, either way, head coach Dana Altman was unfazed by the announcement, saying, “No big deal.” And, as it turns out, this may work out better for the Ducks. While the Cowboys are by no means an easy match-up for his team, Oregon will have size and experience advantages over Travis Ford’s squad, although it remains to be seen exactly what Altman will come up with to check point guard Marcus Smart. And, if the Ducks do get out of the round of 64, they’ll likely have Saint Louis waiting for them next, rather than the #1 seed they would have met if they had received a #8 seed.
Arizona State – NIT, #3 seed, vs. Detroit, 3/20, 7:00 PM PDT, ESPNU – If the Sun Devils go into the NIT with a purpose, their bracket could really open up for them. Kentucky and Baylor are the two teams seeded ahead of them and neither of those teams seemed to care a whole lot during the regular season; it is hard to envision them delivering good efforts in the NIT.
Stanford – NIT, #4 seed, vs. Stephen F. Austin, 3/19, 8:00 PM PDT, ESPN2 – The defending NIT champion Cardinal faces a Stephen F. Austin team that is among the nation’s elite defensive teams. Luckily for Stanford, they’re not very good at scoring the ball, though. If Stanford gets through their opening game, they could have a trip to Alabama in store in round two.
Washington – NIT, #6 seed, at BYU, 3/19, 6:30 PM PDT, ESPN – The Huskies were one of the last teams selected for the NIT and they’ll have to go on the road to Provo to open their postseason schedule.