NCAA Tournament Instareaction: Pac-12 TeamsPosted by Adam Butler on March 12th, 2017
We thought that the Pac-12 Tournament champion would be rewarded with the West Region’s best available seed. The release of the committee’s bracket confirmed as much and here we are. With the Pac-12 represented by only four teams this season, let’s react to their seeding.
- #2 Arizona, West – The Wildcats stormed through Las Vegas over the weekend and were rewarded for the effort. What will be interesting in the upcoming days, however, is how Arizona will be evaluated. The advanced metrics like KenPom rate Sean Miller‘s squad as the nation’s 20th best team, loosely correlating to a #4 or even #5 seed. Subsequently, the Internet has instareacted by noting that Saint Mary’s (Arizona’s potential Second Round opponent) in fact has fantastic odds of making the Elite Eight. Of course, Saint Mary’s (14th) rates ahead of the Wildcats, which means that it makes sense that the Gaels are a trendy sleeper pick. But ask yourself, is the team that just beat UCLA and Oregon on successive nights not capable of making the Final Four?
- #3 UCLA, South – Placed in the Bracket-of-Blue-bloods, the Bruins are headed to the South Region where, to make the Final Four, they’ll compete directly with the likes of #2 Kentucky and #1 North Carolina. Combined, that’s something like all of the national titles ever, especially if you toss in Arkansas. Nevertheless, as it pertains to winning the 2017 title, UCLA has its work cut out. The aforementioned blue-bloods will be a handful, but consider, also, that the Bruins’ offense has seemingly sputtered over the last three games (109, 102, 99 offensive ratings) while their defense continues to be suspect.
- #3 Oregon, Midwest – While it was my belief that the committee might have rewarded Oregon with the West #1 seed had they captured the Pac-12 Tournament title, such was not the case. It would also seem that the Ducks were “dinged” following the unfortunate season-ending injury of big man Chris Boucher. Nevertheless, their region lines up rather nicely to make a run. Creighton isn’t quite the team it could have been, while Louisville, depending on who you ask, may be over-seeded as a two. Furthermore, if we’re willing to ignore some of the metrics, Dillon Brooks has been having the type of season that suggests there’s something special in store.
- #11 USC, East – This is a tough draw for the Trojans. While Providence won’t be an easy initial opponent, SMU, perhaps the most interestingly seeded team in the tournament, will be awaiting. According to KenPom, the Mustangs are the nation’s 11th best team. USC, meanwhile, is the lowest rated high-major at-large invitee.