Predicting How Each Pac-12 Team Will Fare in Postseason

Jahii bazz

What a difference a year makes.

After only the conference champion was in the field of 64 in 2012, five teams received invitations to the NCAA Tournament this year, with three more receiving bids from the NIT.

Oddly enough, the College Basketball Invitational didn’t invite any Pac-12 teams to its 16-team field, although USC finished in a tie with Stanford, Arizona State and Washington that were all invited to the NIT.

Here is the breakdown of how all eight teams will do in their respective matchups.

National Invitation Tournament

No. 6 Washington at No. 3 Brigham Young

  • Location: Marriott Center, Provo, Utah
  • Date: Tuesday, March 19
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN
  • Final: BYU 90, Washington 79

No. 5 Stephen F. Austin at No. 4 Stanford

  • Location: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calf.
  • Date: Tuesday, March 19
  • Time: 11 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN2
  • Final: Stanford 58, SFA 57

The second round pits the Cardinal against Alabama where they will roll over the Tide and lose in the semifinals to Maryland.

No. 6 Detroit Mercy at No. 3 Arizona Statecolvin card

  • Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
  • Date: Wednesday, March 20
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPNU

The Arizona State Sun Devils (21-12, 9-9 Pac-12) were a bubble team for most of February, but it was evident that the pressure was closing in on the young program—they finished the regular season with four straight losses.

The Sun Devils defeated Stanford in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament and had the No. 1 seed UCLA Bruins on the ropes with a 15-point lead in the second half, which they surrendered in painful fashion.

Detroit Mercy (20-12, 12-4 Horizon) finished second in the regular season behind Valparaiso and lost in the first round of the Horizon Tournament to Wright State.

Prediction: Arizona State 81, Detroit Mercy 72

The second round will bring the winner of Baylor versus Long Beach State. The Devils could have a problem if they have to travel to Waco, as they went 4-6 on the road this season.

The good news is that they are 1-0 in Texas after defeating Texas Tech in December. I see them winning their bracket and advancing to the Final Four in New York City.

No. 12 Oregon at No. 5 Oklahoma State

  • Region: Midwestduckucla
  • Location: HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 4:40 p.m. ET
  • Television: TNT

The Pac-12 Conference Champion Oregon Ducks (26-8, 12-6 Pac-12) dominated the tournament with victories over UCLA, Utah and Washington. They needed to perform well as they finished the regular season with embarrassing losses to Colorado and Utah on the road.

The Ducks began the season with such promise, starting 18-2 before losing Dominic Artis and three straight games. They won five of their next six before their four-game skid to end the regular season.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys’ (24-8, 13-5 Pac-12) final ranking at No. 17 was a little disappointing after reaching as high as No. 13 earlier in the month. The Cowboys finished third in the Big 12 behind the Kansas schools and earned a split with both schools.

Prediction: Oklahoma St. 86, Oregon 78

No. 11 Belmont at No. 6 Arizona

  • solo dunkRegion: West
  • Location: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 7:20 p.m. ET
  • Television: TNT

Everybody is calling this game their “upset special” or, “the game to watch in the first round of the West Region.

The Arizona Wildcats (25-7, 12-6 Pac-12) have been on shaky ground the past month, going 5-5 in their last 10 games—including giving up a 9-point lead to UCLA in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament—must be an Arizona thing.

The Belmont Bruins (26-6, 14-2 Ohio Valley) defeated the Murray State Racers by two in overtime, capping their conference title and winning 17 of their final 20 games. The Bruins are 0-5 in the NCAA Tournament, and although the Wildcats are 0-3 versus teams named Bruins this year, Coach Miller’s ‘Cats will emerge victorious.

Prediction: Arizona 76, Belmont 70

The Wildcats, however, will not get past the New Mexico Lobos in the second round.

No. 12 California at No. 5 Nevada Las Vegas

  • cal uclaRegion: East
  • Location: HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 7:27 p.m. ET
  • Television: TRU TV

The California Golden Bears (20-11, 12-6 Pac-12) were the darlings of the league with a 9-1 streak that included wins at Arizona, over UCLA and a sweep of the Oregon Ducks. Their only loss during that stretch was a 4-point loss to Arizona State.

The Bears were riding high with a home game against an inferior Stanford team to close out the regular season.

They were embarrassed at home—losing by 13—but nothing could match the humiliation of losing in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament, in overtime, to a Utah team that had amassed a total of four conference wins all season.

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (25-9, 10-6 MWC) had a little bit better season than the Utes that beat them the Thursday prior. The Rebels defeated the Colorado State Rams en route to a conference final matchup with the New Mexico Lobos where they lost 63-56.

If the Bears can get their mojo back, they can beat this UNLV team, especially since this is a virtual home game for them.

Prediction: Cal 69, UNLV 67

Facing Syracuse will be a much bigger problem for the Bears, one they won’t be able to overcome.

No. 10 Colorado at No. 7 Illinois

  • buff hoopsRegion: East
  • Location: Frank Erwin Special Events Center, Austin, Texas
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 4:40 p.m. ET
  • Television: TNT

The Colorado Buffaloes (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12) finished behind California in the regular season and lost in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Yet, the Buffaloes still received a higher seed than the Bears—strange. With the loss to Arizona in the quarters, they ended their season on a 4-4 tilt, but still managed a No. 10 seed.

The Illini on the other hand, lost four of their final six games, including a 2nd round loss in the Big Ten tournament and still managed a No. 7 seed.

Illinois did have big wins over Ohio St. and Indiana earlier in the year, but a losing conference record is never a good sign of consistency.

Prediction: Illinois 71, Colorado 68

No. 11 Minnesota at No. 6 UCLA

  • bazz dunkRegion: South
  • Location: Frank Erwin Special Events Center, Austin, Texas
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 9:57 p.m. ET
  • Television: TRU TV

Have you seen Shabazz Muhammad play this year? He truly is something special.

The Bruins finished the season winning seven of their final eight games before losing Jordan Adams and eventually falling to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.

They like to start off slow and sluggish and lull their opponents into a false sense of security before they strike when least expected.

The Bruins won the regular season title and finished the runner-up for the conference crown.

Even without Jordan Adams, they will have no problem with the Minnesota Golden Gophers (20-12, 8-10 Big Ten) who lost five of their final seven games and seven of their final 10.

Prediction: UCLA 79, Minnesota 68

The Florida Gators will most likely be their undoing in the second round, thus signaling the final game in Muhammad’s college career.

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