Eight Predictions For The Pac-12 On Selection SundayPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on March 16th, 2014
- Arizona will get a #1 seed in the West region. This one’s almost too easy. Without a team west of Wichita vying for a seed above the four line, the Wildcats have no competition for this spot. They have been locked into a one seed ever since their dominating performance at Colorado on February 22, and losses to Oregon and UCLA in the final two weeks of the season doesn’t change that. Expect Sean Miller‘s team to also be sent to San Diego for its opening games in the tournament.
- UCLA is underseeded, and its opponents will pay for it. Without a signature non-conference win and losses like the 18-point one suffered at Washington State dotting its schedule, I think the committee slots UCLA as a #6 seed, instead of the four or five the Bruins probably deserve. This will hurt their second and third round opponents more than anything, as we’ve seen in recent years.
- Oregon avoids the 8/9 game, is gifted a #7 seed. The committee loves rewarding teams that finish the season strong, and Oregon closed the year on an 8-1 tear. I think the Ducks avoid the 8/9 game (and therefore a matchup with a top seed in their second game), and will play a #10 seed in their opener.
- Colorado and Stanford do play the 8/9 game. Both the Buffaloes and Cardinal had a chance to pull an Oregon and avoid the eight or nine line, but some spectacular flameouts in Las Vegas make that impossible. Both will play in an 8/9 game.
- Arizona State’s late skid drops them to the ten line. And the Sun Devils will be a very dangerous #10 seed. Their three game losing streak to close the season hurts their seeding, but the speed and explosiveness of Jahii Carson is enough to pull an upset or two in the big dance. Arizona State has proven its legit with wins over Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, and Stanford in the final month and a half of the year, and its opening opponent better be on notice.
- California will inexplicably be left out. I noticed something interesting on Twitter late last night. As bracketologists around the country took a fresh look at their projected fields, many raised the question; Why isn’t California getting more respect? Sure, the final four weeks were ugly. But its overall resume is most definitely deserving of an at-large bid, and you have to think Justin Cobbs‘ fadeaway game-winner against top-ranked Arizona to open the month of February is sticking in the minds of the selection committee. Alas, it seems as though they will be one of the first few teams left out of the field, destined for a #1 seed in the NIT.
- Utah is closer than we all think. I have a sneaking suspicion that when CBS interviews the head of the selection committee late Sunday afternoon, he will tell the world that the Utes were on the list of the first four teams left out of the field. They won four of their final five regular season contests before a flop against Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament, and the poor non-conference schedule is really the only reason Utah would be excluded.
- Washington and Oregon State miss the NIT. With more quality teams around the country than usual, and more automatic bids being used than in season’s past, quality teams like Ohio, San Francisco, and Middle Tennessee will be left out of this year’s NIT bracket. The Huskies and Beavers will be omitted as well, with just too many bad losses and too low of an RPI rank. Expect to see both in the CBI early next week.