Pac 12 Tournament Preview
What a brutal year for the Pac 12. The league suffered some massive injuries and when something went well there were three things that were negative in quick succession. There’s two team that really have a chance at the tournament but I don’t think it would be out of line to say that every team in the league has a chance to win the tournament.
2018 Champion: Arizona
1-seed Washington Huskies 24-7 (15-3)
That 2-3 zone the Huskies run has been great all season long as Washington is one of the best defensive teams in the country. The offense can be hit or miss (see the game against Oregon) but that’s fixable. Getting their stars involved early and often is important, but I think Matisse Thybulle is the x-factor. If he’s playing well this is a tough team to beat.
2-seed Arizona State Sun Devils 21-9 (12-6)
The talent and the opportunity is there for Bobby Hurley. He’s got a very good big man in Zylan Cheatham and great guards in Remy Martin and Luguentz Dort. They need production from the bench. It’s as simple as that.
3-seed Utah Utes 17-13 (11-7)
The Utes lost a ton from last year and to be in the position they are now is a testament to the coaching staff. Utah lives off their offense, it is one of the best in the country. The defense really struggles to string together stops. Turnovers will be keep as they limit their opponents’ possessions.
4-seed Oregon State Beavers 18-12 (10-8)
Tres Tinkle. The coach’s son is a star for the Beavers. He’s 2nd in the league in scoring, 4th in steals, and 5th in rebounds. Talk about doing it all. Oregon State is a good team offensively but they need help on defense. Their struggles have been noted throughout the year as they’ve been prone to allowing 70+ points.
5-seed Colorado Buffaloes 19-11 (10-8)
This is a young team that took advantage of a down year for the league and was able to steal 5th place. We all knew McKinley Wright would be a gamer, but the addition of Tyler Bey, Shane Gatling, and Lucas Siewart has been huge. All four players are averaging double figures and they all chip in in different ways. The best way to win your league is ride your star, that’s what Colorado needs from McKinley Wright.
6-seed Oregon Ducks 19-12 (10-8)
Injuries derailed Oregon’s season, although it might not have gone much further than it has regardless. The Ducks lost star Bol Bol early in the year when he was absolutely dominating. Louis King is finally playing well despite early struggles but it’s too little too late. The Ducks just don’t shoot the 3 well and without Bol the offense is poor.
7-seed UCLA Bruins 16-15 (9-9)
UCLA is the epitome of doing less with more. So much talent on this roster and they finish .500 in one of the worst years in the history of the Pac-12. Losing Shareef O’Neal certainly hurt and Moses Brown was incredibly raw coming in, but you still have Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands returning. That should be more than enough to get over the .500 mark. They need to just let the boys play. Get them out in transition, a run and gun type game.
8-seed USC Trojans 15-16 (8-10)
Honestly, has there been many worse hires than Andy Enfield at USC? He has landed talented players and done next to nothing with them. He is Lorenzo Romar 2.0 except Romar actually made a couple tourneys. Enfield has the talent to be a top team in this league but the Trojans just aren’t there. The Kevin Porter Jr saga was strange throughout the year but Enfield should just let the guys loose and tell them to go make plays.
9-seed Arizona Wildcats 17-14 (8-10)
In what seemed to be a farewell speech following the final home game, a loss to Arizona State, the Wildcats just seem emotionally and physically spent this season. I find it hard to believe they will make a run but they do have the talent to do it.
10-seed Stanford Cardinal 15-15 (8-10)
KZ Okpala. He’s one of the best players in the league and this team had Washington beat in Palo Alto before a poor final possession doomed them. They have shown they can compete, but can they do it multiple days consecutively? We shall see.
11-seed Washington State Cougars 11-20 (4-14)
It is a shame that Robert Franks is wasted on this Washington State team. He’s a legitimately good player in multiple areas of the game and his team just doesn’t help pick him up. That team will have to be big if they want to make a run.
12-seed Cal Golden Bears 8-22 (3-15)
If you look at trends, Cal is actually the hottest team in the Pac-12 entering the tournament. They’ve won 3 straight including a win over Washington, so why not the Bears.
USC over Arizona
Colorado over Cal
UCLA over Stanford
Oregon over Washington State
Washington over USC
Oregon State over Colorado
UCLA over Arizona State
Oregon over Utah
Washington over Oregon State
Oregon over UCLA
Washington over Oregon