Tag: California

Stanford, UCLA advance to match play in NCAA men’s golf championships

Stan_UCLAA long yet productive day took place at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., on Monday. With the previous cancellation of the fourth round, teams played for over 12 hours on Memorial Day to determine the top eight spots.

Of the 30 teams competing, only the lowest eight team scores—including Stanford and UCLA—advanced to Tuesday’s quarterfinals in a match-style playoff, with the top two teams teeing off Wednesday in the title match. Five Pac-12 teams finished in the top 15 on Monday, with seven Pac-12 golfers finishing under par and in the top 20 on the individual leaderboard.

The Stanford Cardinal finished as the top team after the final round with a total of 13-under par, nine strokes ahead of its closest competitors, LSU and Alabama, who finished at 4-under. Despite top-ranked Patrick Rodgers’ stumble on the day at 3-over par and Cameron Wilson saving par on the day, David Boote kept the Card afloat with a stellar 5-under par performance to complement his 3-under play in the second round.

Evert Wilson - NCAA photo

Evert Wilson – NCAA photo

Wilson was tied for the individual lead at 6-under par with Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schneiderjans at the end of regulation. He would go on to win the three-hole playoff and be crowned national champion on the 17th hole after both golfers parred on the 18th and 10th holes. Boote finished tied for third place overall at 5-under.

UCLA flirted with the cut line down the back stretch, dropping as low as 10th before finishing in the sixth spot at 4-over par through the final round. The Bruins rebounded from a 4-over performance in the second round with a 1-over 281.

Lorens Chan was the model of consistency with two straight even-par rounds and topped it off with a monster 3-under final round to move from a tie at 26th place to being tied for 10th place at 3-under with five others. Anton Arboleda struggled a bit in the final round, finishing 2-over par to finish at 1-over.

California rebounded from its abysmal 9-over par performance in the second round with a respectable 2-over par in the final round, finishing at 10-over and just missing the cut in 11th place. Joel Stalter shot 3-under in the final round to finish 1-under for the tournament, jumping from a tie for 50th to being tied at 20th overall. Brandon Hagy dropped two strokes in the final round to finish 2-over.

Washington had a nice 1-under par 279 in the opening round, but then the Huskies shot 7-over in both the second and third rounds to finish at 13-over with a 15th-place finish. Corey Pereira completed the final round with a respectable 1-under 69 to finish 1-under for the tournament in the logjam 19th place with nine other golfers.  and finish in a tie for 46th place.

John Vu - GoDucks.com photo

John Vu – GoDucks.com photo

Oregon’s 9-under performance on Monday was the second-lowest round of the tournament, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the second round score of 17-over—the second-highest round of the tournament. The Ducks finished in 14th place, one stroke ahead of regional rival Washington.

Zach Foushee redeemed himself, shooting 5-under par on Monday after his paltry 6-over performance in the second round. Foushee would finish tied for 19th place at 1-under par for the tournament. Brandon McIver finished 3-under par on Monday to bring him to 3-over par for the tournament.

Washington had a nice 1-under par 279 in the opening round, but then the Huskies shot 7-over in both the second and third rounds to finish at 13-over with a 15th-place finish. Corey Pereira completed the final round with a respectable 1-under 69 to finish 1-under for the tournament in the logjam 19th place with nine other golfers.

Southern California didn’t have its best outing over the long Memorial Day weekend. The Trojans just couldn’t find their groove at Prairie Dunes but showed signs of improvement in the final round, finishing 15-over. Rico Hoey, the Trojans’ lone bright spot, finished the tournament with a 2-under 68 in the first round and a 1-under 69 in the final round. Hoey’s 7-over in the second round dropped him to 4-over for the tournament in a tie for 55th place.

 

Stanford leads NCAA men’s golf championships after 36 holes

Stanford golf

Rain delays, threats of lightning and overall poor weather at Prairie Dunes Country Club have changed the format of the NCAA men’s golf championship in Huntington, Kan. The course, which has been suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent memory as well as one of the driest starts on record, has been anything but dry.

Due to the extreme weather conditions, the fourth round, originally scheduled for Monday, has been canceled and hopes that a full round can completed on Monday are still up in the air because the forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of scattered storms.

The No. 3 Stanford Cardinal led at the conclusion of Saturday’s suspended play. After all teams finally completed two full rounds earlier on Sunday afternoon, the Cardinal still remained on top of the leaderboard without ever stepping on the course.

The nation’s top two ranked amateurs in Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson, both from Stanford, also sit atop the individual leaderboard, only juxtaposed ever so slightly with Wilson in first place at 6-under and Rodgers right behind at 5-under par.

 

california-b-logo-1The Cal Golden Bears, who were ranked No. 5 prior to the championships, excelled in the first round with a 1-under 279 but struggled in the second round finishing 9-over par. The Bears were able to start the third round prior to a final suspension due to lightning and shoot a 1-under on the day. Cal is now tied for 14th par with the Universities of Texas and Alabama-Birmingham at 7-over. Brandon Hagy is tied for 21st place at 1-under par while teammates Joel Stalter and Michael Weaver are tied for 41st at 1-over par.

 

No. 8 Washington mirrored the play of California, scoring 1-under par in the first round and struggling in the second round. The Huskies performed two strokes better than the Bears finishing 7-over in the round and 6-over par overall, good enough to be tied for 11th place. Cory Pereira led all Huskies golfers with an even par after shooting 69 in the first round and 71 in the second.

 

ucla-logo

No. 21 UCLA also shot a 1-under par 279 in the first round but fared much better in the second round despite all the delays and distractions. The Bruins finished the second round with a respectable 4-over par to give the squad a composite score of 3-over par and sole possession of eighth place. Anton Arboleda, who had a masterful 2-under 68 in the first round, finished 1-over in the second dropping him from 18th place in the individual ranking to 21stLorens Chan and Preston Valder are both a stroke behind Arboleda at even par. 

 

The 22nd-ranked Trojans had a bad first round and an even worse second round. Finishing 16-over par in the first round was tough but being unable to rebound with an 18-over second round most likely signaled the end of the tournament for USC. Their third round score of 3-over par was not the worst showing of the round and their total score of 37-over is also not the highest of all schools, that honor belongs to Texas A&M at 38-over par. Rico Hoey, the lone bright spot for the Trojans with a 2-under 68 in the first round, finished the second round at 7-over par. Hoey’s teammates are all in double digits over par.

 

oregon-g-logoOne would think that the 27th ranked Oregon Ducks would excel in the inclement and rainy conditions but it has proved to be the opposite. They represent the biggest drop from the end of day one, which had Oregon on top, to the end of day three, where we find the Ducks at 17-over par and in 23rd place out of 30 schools. The 17-over second round hit the squad hard and they have rebounded in the third round with an impressive 4-under par to keep the Ducks at 17-over for the tournament.

Stanford on top at NCAA men’s golf championships after shortened second round

MGOLF-RECAP-pic

The No. 2 ranked Stanford Cardinal was only one of six teams to complete the second round of play due to inclement weather interrupting play for over eight hours on Thursday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.

Only the top eight teams will make the cut after 54 holes of play to qualify for a match-play style playoff. The final two teams will play on Wednesday for the title match.

stanford-logoThe Cardinal finished the first round 1-over par and came roaring back in the second round to shoot a 13-under 267 finishing their first two rounds at a combined 12-under. Stanford is in the lead by four strokes over top-ranked and defending national champion Alabama who has yet to begin its second round. The top two ranked individuals in Partick Rodgers (-5) and Cameron Wilson (-6) lived up to their hype by finishing in the top three at the end of the second day.

No. 5 ranked California was able to complete two full rounds but with much less success than their rival across the bay. At 8-over par, the Golden Bears are tied for 21st place with the Universities of Kentucky and Houston. Cal finished the first round with an admirable 1-under 279, yet fell apart in the second round finishing 9-over for the round. No. 6 individual Brandon Hagy dropped from being tied for 14th at 2-under par to being tied for 39th at even par.

washington-logo

The No. 8 ranked Washington Huskies finished the first round 1-under par and have struggled on the first three holes of the second round, finishing 6-over on holes 15-18. At 5-over par, the Huskies are currently tied for 16th place with four other schools. Cory Pereira finished round one at 1-under par but currently sits at 1-over while teammate Jonathan Sanders has improved on his first round 73, shooting 1-under so far in the second round placing him tied for 69th at 2-over par.

The UCLA Bruins, who were ranked at No. 21 entering the championships have yet to hit the course for the second round and are clinging to a tie for 10th place at 1-under par after the first round. Anton Arboleda is 2-under par and tied for 15th place in the individual standings. No. 25 Johnathan Garrick and No. 50 Lorens Chan are both tied for 39th after shooting an even par 70 in the first round.

oregon-g-logoThe No. 22 USC Trojans had a horrific first round, shooting 16-over par and look to rebound in the second round on Sunday morning. 15th ranked Rico Hoey finished the first round with a respectable 2-under 68 and is currently tied with several others for 15th place. Three SC players are 6-over par, including 30th ranked Anthony Paolucci.

The No. 27 ranked Oregon Ducks surprised the field after taking the lead at the end of the first day. The Ducks would return to Earth and finish with a 4-over 284 after completing the second round, good enough to be tied for 14th with the University of Illinois. Friday’s individual leader, Zach Foushee is holding on to a 15th place tie at 2-under par. Teammate Thomas Lim is also sporting a respectable 1-under par 69 at the completion of the first round.

Pac-12 Tournament: Matchups, TV Coverage, Predictions and More

NJ BallThe regular season is over. The games have been played, the arguments have been made, and as much as Arizona wants to take their ball and go home, the Ducks, Golden Bears and Cardinal need the Pac-12 tournament to solidify their NCAA tournament fate.

The final day of regular season play saw several close games and was highlighted by a few upsets that could make or break teams’ seasons.

The Pac-12 tournament begins March 12 in Las Vegas, Nev., and here is a comprehensive list of seedings, matchups and everything else you need to know about the tourney.

No. 8 Seed Utah vs. No. 9 Seed Washington

 

  • Russ Isabella-USA Today Sports

    Russ Isabella-USA Today Sports

    Date: March 12, 2014

  • Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

The opener for the the Pac-12 tournament will feature teams struggling for an identity in the conference. Utah (20-10, 9-9 Pac-12) has been a dominant force at home, going 18-2 with wins over three of the top five seeds in the conference, but has only won twice away from Huntsman Center.

Washington (17-14, 9-9 Pac-12) has lost six of its last 10 games, but things may be looking up for the Huskies as they have won three of the past four including humiliating their in-state rival, Washington State, 72-49.

The teams split the series in the 2013-14 season with the home team winning each game. The Huskies lead the all-time series 8-7.

Prediction: Utah

No. 5 Seed Colorado vs. No. 12 Seed USC

 

  • Mark J. Terrill-Associated Press

    Mark J. Terrill-Associated Press

    Date: March 12, 2014

  • Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

The glorious 5-12 seed matchup.

This game has perennially been a blowout with the lowest-ranked team in the conference looking for some sort of redemption. First-year coach Andy Enfield went from recruiting walk-on players with fliers posted at Florida Gulf Coast University to a full stable of scholarship players.

The Trojans (11-20, 2-16 Pac-12) have had a tough year, to say the least. The highlight of their season reaches all the way back to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the Bahamas when it beat Xavier 84-78.

The Buffaloes (21-10, 10-8 Pac-12), on the other hand, were nationally ranked as high as No. 15 until point guard Spencer Dinwiddie went down with a torn ACL. The Buffs lost a heartbreaker to Cal in overtime to finish their season with losses in three of their final four games.

Colorado swept the 2013-14 season series by an average of 15 points and should have no problem advancing to the quarterfinals to face California.

Prediction: Colorado

 

No. 7 Seed Oregon vs. No. 10 Seed Oregon State

 

  • Scott Olmos-USA Today Sports

    Scott Olmos-USA Today Sports

    Date: March 12, 2014

  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

The Ducks are back!

Oregon (22-8, 10-8 Pac-12) has won seven straight and has all but guaranteed an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament after Saturday’s 64-57 win over the No. 3-ranked Arizona Wildcats. During the streak, the Ducks have beaten the top three conference seeds by an average of six points.

Oregon State (16-14, 8-10 Pac-12), on the other hand, is rebounding from an epic overtime victory over Arizona State. The Beavers have lost six of their last 10 games but also claim victories over two of the top three conference seeds.

The teams split the 2013-14 season with the home team winning each game. No teams in NCAA history have played more basketball games than Oregon and Oregon State. Wednesday’s meeting will be the 342nd time that the teams will meet, with Oregon State leading the series 186-155.

Prediction: Oregon

 

No. 6 Seed Stanford vs. No. 11 Seed Washington State

 

  • Bob Stanton-USA Today Sports

    Bob Stanton-USA Today Sports

    Date: March 12, 2014

  • Time: 11:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

Stanford was a lock for the NCAA tournament after beating then-No. 23 UCLA on Feb. 22. The Cardinal (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12) followed up that defining win with three straight losses. It was swept on the road in Arizona and lost a close game at home to Colorado. On senior day in Maples Pavilion, the Cardinal survived a scare with a one-point victory over Utah.

The Cardinal need a great, not good, showing in the tournament to assure their spot in the NCAA tournament.

Washington State (10-20, 3-15 Pac-12) shocked the world with a regular-season ending 18-point victory over UCLA. Prior to Saturday’s shocker, the Cougars had lost eight straight and 12 of their past 13 games.

Stanford won both games between the teams this year by an average of 22.5 points.

Prediction: Stanford

 

No. 1 Seed Arizona vs. Utah/Washington Winner

 

  • Casey Sapio-USA Today Sports

    Casey Sapio-USA Today Sports

    Date: March 13, 2014

  • Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

Arizona (28-3, 15-3 Pac-12) is the regular-season conference champion for the 13th time since joining the conference in 1978. Although Saturday’s loss at Oregon was disappointing, Coach Miller and his crew will shed it like a dirty shirt.

Following the loss to Arizona State on February 14, the Wildcats went on to win five straight by an average of 15.4 points. Arizona finished its second undefeated home stand in Miller’s tenure as head coach and looks to add tournament champion to its 2014 resume.

Arizona was 3-0 against Washington and Utah this season, defeating the Huskies by nine at home and being one of only two teams to beat Utah in Salt Lake City. The Utes took the ‘Cats to overtime before losing 67-63.

There is no bigger David and Goliath setup than if Utah were to get to face the Wildcats again but this time walk away with the win. The Runnin’ Utes will need to get past Washington first and will once again put up a valiant fight.

Prediction: Arizona

 

No. 4 Seed Cal vs. Colorado/USC Winner

 

  • Kelly L. Cox-USA Today Sports

    Kelly L. Cox-USA Today Sports

    Date: March 13, 2014

  • Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

The California Golden Bears are an anomaly. Last year’s dragonslayer looked to repeat the 2013-14 season in the same role with early season wins over ranked teams in Oregon and Arizona. The Bears were a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament before losing losing three of their past five games.

Fate smiled on the California squad with a one-point overtime victory over Colorado, handing them the No. 4 seed and the first-round bye.

Colorado will be looking to avenge Saturday’s loss as the loser of this game will most likely be headed to the NIT, snubbed by the NCAA tournament.

Prediction: California

 

No. 2 Seed UCLA vs. Oregon/Oregon State Winner

 

  • Stephen Brashear-Associated Press

    Stephen Brashear-Associated Press

    Date: March 13, 2014

  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

UCLA was embarrassed at home on Saturday, or at least they should have been. The Bruins (23-8, 12-6 Pac-12) put forth an abysmal performance against a Washington State team that has struggled to score 60 points per game in 2014. The Bruins enter the tournament losing three of their past five games, including a double-overtime loss at home to Oregon.

As the No. 2 seed in the conference with 23 overall and 12 conference wins, the Bruins will most likely receive a NCAA bid regardless of how they fare in Las Vegas.

The Bruins are ripe for an upset, but if it is Oregon that the Bruins will be playing in the quarterfinals on Thursday, I don’t see UCLA losing again to the Ducks.

Prediction: UCLA

 

No. 3 Seed Arizona State vs. Stanford/Washington State Winner

 

  • Matt York-Associated Press

    Matt York-Associated Press

    Date: March 13, 2014

  • Time: 11:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • TV Coverage: Fox Sports 1

 

Behold the mystery that is Arizona State.

The Sun Devils (21-10, 10-8 Pac-12) have lost four of their past six games and are still considered at least a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament. Coach Sendek’s squad has lost its last five games on the road and six of its past seven, needing overtime to defeat Cal on January 29. The Sun Devils, however, finished the year 16-1 at home with victories over No. 2 Arizona, Oregon, Colorado and Cal.

The Daily BPI for Arizona State took a hit after the Oregon State overtime loss on Saturday, dropping the Devils below Utah at No. 35. Its RPI dropped even farther to No. 46, one spot behind Stanford.

If Stanford advances to the quarterfinals, as predicted, the Devils will have a fight on their hands. The two met in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament last year with Arizona State escaping with a one-point overtime victory.

The teams split the 2013-14 series with the home team winning each game.

Prediction: Arizona State

Semifinals, Finals and Champion

RHJ UCLA

 

Semifinal One

 

  • Date: March 14, 2014
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • TV CoveragePac-12 Networks
  • Online StreamPac-12.com
  • Prediction: Arizona vs. California
  • Projected Winner: Arizona

Arizona decimated California at home on February 26 as a “thank you” for handing the Wildcats their first loss and dethroning them from their nine-week stay atop the NCAA rankings. The ‘Cats will add insult to injury by knocking the Golden Bears out of the conference tournament and most likely ending their NCAA tournament hopes.

Semifinal Two

 

  • Date: March 14, 2014
  • Time: 11:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • TV Coverage: Fox Sports 1
  • Online StreamPac-12.com
  • Prediction: UCLA vs. Arizona State
  • Projected Winner: UCLA

It’s like déjà vu all over again for the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 tournament. If Arizona State advances to the semifinals against UCLA on Friday as predicted, they will face the same two teams in 2014 that they faced to start the 2013 tourney. As the No. 9 seed, the Sun Devils led No. 1 seed UCLA by as many as 15 points before falling apart down the stretch.

I think the Bruins will end the Sun Devils’ conference title hopes for a second consecutive season.

Conference Final

 

  • Ashley injuryDate: March 15, 2014
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • TV Coverage: Fox Sports 1
  • Online StreamPac-12.com
  • Prediction: Arizona vs. UCLA
  • Projected Winner: Arizona

 

The Wildcats defeated the Bruins 79-75 in Los Angeles on January 9. With the newly-added conference teams, the two only played the one time this season. Arizona’s Brandon Ashley played 29 minutes in that game but didn’t wow with his numbers that evening, so his absence shouldn’t make a difference in this matchup.

Predictions for the Pac-12, NCAA and NIT Tournaments

RHJ UCLA

Welcome to March—may the madness be with you.

After Saturday’s epic meltdown of top-ranked teams, including five of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25, will Sunday’s top teams fare any better?

The No. 3 Arizona Wildcats host the Stanford Cardinal while five more ranked teams look to avoid the upset bug.

Arizona had earned the No. 1 seed heading into the Pac-12 Tournament and barring an unforeseen late-season meltdown, the Wildcats will win their 13th regular season conference championship since joining the Pac-10/12 Conference in 1978.

How many Pac-12 teams will punch their dance ticket and where will they be seeded?

 

No. 1 Seed Arizona Wildcats

Gordon wince

Brennan Linsley/Associated Press

This is a no-brainer.

The No. 3 Wildcats (26-2, 13-2 Pac-12) have three games remaining and are favored in all three games. Arizona will host Stanford for a Sunday evening nightcap on ESPNU for those not interested in watching the Academy Awards.

After suffering a heart-wrenching, double-overtime loss to in-state rival, Arizona State, the Wildcats have rebounded nicely with three straight victories. The ‘Cats swept the Rocky Mountain schools and exacted sweet revenge on Cal with a convincing 87-59 victory.

The Wildcats end the regular season on the road facing the Oregon schools. The Ducks (20-8, 8-8 Pac-12) will look to extend their five-game win streak and possibly revive their tournament hopes. The Beavers (15-12, 7-8 Pac-12) are just hoping to avoid an embarrassing loss.

I predict the Wildcats will finish their season 16-2 in conference and also win the Conference Tournament.

 

No. 6 Seed UCLA Bruins

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

What has happened to UCLA?

Two straight losses to Stanford and Oregon have dropped the dropped the Bruins farther in several pundits’ predictions, but a favorable season-ending schedule could stop the bleeding.

The Bruins started conference play a little shaky, losing two of their first five games, including a five-point loss to Utah (No. 78 RPI). Another bad loss was waiting for the Bruins in Corvallis, where the Beavers (No. 98 RPI) handed them a 71-67 loss.

UCLA hosts Oregon State on Sunday and will look to celebrate senior night with a revenge win over the Beavers before embarking on its road trip at the Washington schools.

The Bruins still have a mathematical chance at sharing the 2013-14 Pac-12 regular-season title—but it would require Arizona losing their next three games. I like my chances at winning Powerball over that happening.

I see the Bruins finishing second in the Pac-12 with a 13-5 conference record, garnering a No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. It would be neat to see an NCAA tournament first-round matchup with former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin, who is now head coach at St. John’s.

 

No. 8 Seed Arizona State Sun Devils

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Sun Devils (21-8, 10-6) had a horrific road trip in the Rocky Mountain region and were written off by several pollsters as “not ready.” Arizona State posted its lowest offensive output of the season, scoring only 52 points at Colorado, and followed that up with a 23-point shellacking at Utah.

The Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City is a tough place to pull out a win; the Utes finished the season 18-2 with the only losses coming to then-No. 10 Oregon and then-No. 1 Arizona.

Herb Sendek’s squad saved their season and Sendek’s job for the foreseeable future with a convincing home stand against the Bay Area schools by 12 and 18 points over Stanford and Cal, respectively.

The Sun Devils have a quirky schedule to end the season, with a Tuesday-Saturday road trip to the Oregon schools. Arizona State’s Doug Tammaro said the Sun Devils will return to Tempe after the Tuesday night game at Oregon and return on Friday to prepare for the Saturday game at Oregon State.

I predict that Arizona State will split the road trip with a loss to Oregon, finish 11-7 in conference and earn a No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

 

No. 9 Seed Stanford Cardinal

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Cardinal, who had won four of six before embarking on their Arizona road trip, knew they had a tough end to their schedule. It started with a 12-point loss in Tempe and continues with a Sunday matchup in Tucson—where no visiting team has won this season.

Stanford has the luxury of hosting the final two regular-season games at home, but when the visiting teams are Colorado and Utah, the term “luxury” is far from Johnny Dawkins’ mind.

Colorado is most likely making a return trip to the Big Dance, while Utah is a team that is dangerous at home and atrocious on the road.

I predict the Cardinal will finish the season 10-7 in conference and gain a No. 5 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, which is as good as a bye in many minds.

 

No. 10 Seed Colorado Buffaloes

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Buffaloes were 14-2 overall, 3-0 in conference and were ranked No. 15 in the country when they traveled to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies.

In an instant, the Buffaloes’ season, it would seem, would go up in smoke when point guard Spencer Dinwiddie fell to the floor, clutching his left knee. It was later revealed that Dinwiddie tore his ACL and would be lost for the season. A heartbreaking loss for a player who was weighing his NBA options, he told Brian Howell of BuffZone.com  he is now considering the 2014 draft, although his injury won’t be healed prior to the April 27 deadline.

Including the loss at Washington, the Buffs would go on to lose four of the next five games before winning three straight at home. Colorado’s final two games are on the road against the Bay Area schools.

I predict the Buffaloes will win out on the road and finish 11-7 in conference, securing the No. 4 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

 

No. 10 Seed California Golden Bears

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Much like the aforementioned Buffaloes, the Cal Bears started the season like a team on fire. The Bears, however, didn’t lose a player in mid-January, they just lost their way.

Cal has the distinction of being the only team in the Pac-12 to lose this year to Southern California, but at least it was on the road. The loss at USC was the first of three consecutive losses and four of the next five.

The season seemed to turn around when it knocked off the No. 1 team in the country, Arizona, 60-58 on Justin Cobbs’ last-second shot. Since the victory, the Bears have settled back into mediocrity, going 3-3 and coming back empty-handed on their Arizona road trip.

The Bears welcome the Rocky Mountain schools for the regular-season finale, and I predict California will split the pair, finishing the year at 10-8 in conference, and gain the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

 

NIT No. 1 Seed Oregon Ducks

Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

The Oregon Ducks made quick work of their nonconference opponents, winning 12 straight and reaching as high as No. 10 in the rankings. Overtime was needed twice in the early going for the Ducks to dispatch of Ole Miss and BYU, but conference play was looming.

Oregon traveled to Utah to start conference play and needed overtime, once again, to sneak out of Huntsman Center with a win. The Ducks would then hit the skids, losing five straight and seven of the next nine.

A resurgence has returned to Dana Altman’s squad, having won their past five, including a stunning double-overtime thriller in Pauley Pavilion.

If the Ducks can sweep the Arizona schools at home, they might return to bubble talk, but as of now, it is safe to say the bubble has burst despite their best efforts.

I predict Oregon will finish 9-9 in conference and will nab the No. 7 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

 

NIT No. 3 Seed Utah Utes

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

There’s no place like home for the Utah Runnin’ Utes.

Playing in arguably one of the most difficult arenas in the conference and the country, the Huntsman Center has become synonymous with a Ute victory. On the road, however, is a completely different story.

The Utes are an amazing 18-2 at home but an alarming 1-7 on the road. Among their home victories are over then-No. 10 Oregon and then-No. 25 UCLA, but in between those big wins, the Utes lost 49-46 to Washington State.

The final two games for Utah are on the road against NCAA tournament-bound teams, and I don’t see a break from the norm, with the Utes getting swept in the Bay Area.

I predict Utah will finish the season 8-10 in conference play and will be seeded No. 8 in the Pac-12 tournament.

Pac-12 Baseball Week 7 Power Rankings

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After two weeks of conference play, the Pac-12 is separating the wheat from the chaff.

Three teams are tied for first place in conference and they are all ranked in the top 12 of the four national polls.

The past week saw a true freshman pitch a no-hitter for the first time in conference play since 1994. Ryan Kellogg from Whitby, Ontario hurled the first no-hitter in over 20 years and the ninth in Arizona State history to blank the Oregon State Beavers and garner numerous accolades including Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week.

Let’s delve a little deeper and check out each team in the Pac-12 and where it ranks.

 

Oregon State Beavers

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The Oregon State Beavers took care of business over the weekend winning the series over the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils. Although they were no-hit on Saturday, senior left-hander Matt Boyd pitched a one-hit, complete-game shutout on Friday and the Beavers escaped a late-inning rally by the Devils to win 4-3.

The Beavers pitching has been incredible, boasting a NCAA-low team ERA of 1.64 and hold opponents to a meager .205 batting average.

Next up for Oregon State is a break from conference play as it travels to San Diego to take on the Toreros this weekend and back to Oregon for a game at the University of Portland.

 

UCLA Bruins

 

The Bruins dropped the series opener at home to Cal but went on to dismantle the Bears 18-5 over the next two games. They swept Washington at home the week prior on two shutouts and a marathon 15-inning game on Saturday.

The pitching lineup of David Berg, Grant Watson, Cody Poteet and Nick Vander Tuig has been lights-out and all four pitchers rank in the top 10 in the league for lowest opponent batting average. Berg (0.76) and Watson (1.13) hold the second- and third-lowest ERA in the Pac-12 and the Bruins pitchers have allowed the fewest runs scored in the conference with 53.

Next up for UCLA is a three-game set at Arizona State Thursday-Saturday and then back home to face the 21-3 Cal State Fullerton Titans on Tuesday.

 

Oregon Ducks

 

The Oregon Ducks had a tough time in nonconference play dropping series to Cal State Fullerton and Vanderbilt. The won the series finale against the Commodores which began a five-game win streak before dropping a game at USC. They have since swept the reigning national champion Arizona Wildcats, holding the ‘Cats to just one run in the first two games and holding them off 7-6 in the series finale.

Oregon is tops in the league in fielding percentage at .988 and has committed the fewest errors with 11. Junior first baseman Ryon Healey leads the league in doubles with 11 and does equally well on defense leading in putouts with 235.

Closer Jimmie Sherley’s seven saves leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 4 in the country.

The Ducks host the Washington Huskies this weekend for a three-game set and travel to Tempe next weekend to take on the Sun Devils.

 

Stanford Cardinal

 

The Cardinal are in a funk right now.

They have lost three straight games to beatable teams in UC Davis and the University of Utah. The week prior saw them being swept by UNLV at home, and they have now lost six of their past seven games. A road trip could be just the thing to bust them out of their slump.

The bright spot on the Cardinal roster is senior right-hander Mark Appel who leads the Pac-12 with 54 strikeouts and ranks No. 5 in the nation. The Cardinal also lead the league in fewest hits allowed with 133.

Seven of the next eight games for the Cardinal will be played away from the Sunken Diamond with the lone home game against rival California on April 1.

 

Arizona State Sun Devils

 

The Sun Devils have had their ups and downs this season already. They defeated then-No. 2 Arkansas twice in the Coca-Cola Classic and freshman sensation pitcher Ryan Kellogg pitched a no-hitter against the No. 3 Oregon State Beavers.

They have also dropped two straight series to the aforementioned Beavers and the Washington State Cougars. The Sun Devils ace right-handed pitcher, Trevor Williams has won Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors with two complete games and a shutout, but his record stands at 3-2.

The Devils are second in the Pac-12 with 12 home runs and have only surrendered a league-leading one. Home runs aren’t all they hit; they also lead the league in hit batters with 28.

Kellogg leads the league in ERA (0.71), lowest opposing batting average (.129) and wins with five. His win total is tied for ninth-best in the nation while his ERA comes in at 10th.

Arizona State welcomes the UCLA Bruins for a Thursday-Saturday set then travels for a two-game set at Wichita State.

 

Washington State Cougars

 

Well, look at that, the Cougars aren’t occupying the cellar for once. The Cougars are on a tear right now winning six of their past eight games, including a four-game sweep of Brown in which they outscored the Bulldogs, 45-4. They took two of three on the road at Arizona State after a disappointing road trip to UT San Antonio where they dropped three of four.

The Cougars’ bats are on fire through 23 games with a league-leading batting average of .335 that also ranks No. 2 in the country. Redshirt freshman third baseman Nick Tanielu leads the way with an incredible .419 average that ranks No. 25 in the nation.

Washington State also tops the league in slugging percentage (.479), on-base percentage (.406), hits (271), doubles (54), home runs (17) and total bases (390).

Next up for Washington State is a three-game set welcoming Stanford and a single game against neighboring Gonzaga, who recently bested the Cougars, 10-8.

 

California Golden Bears

 

The Cal Bears had a nice win streak going on before Saturday. They had won eight straight and were winners of nine of their last 10 games before dropping two straight to UCLA. They are 7-0 at home and will play their first-ever night game this weekend at Evans Field.

The Bears host the USC Trojans for a Thursday-Saturday set and then travel across town to play rival Stanford Cardinal for a single game and then off to Tucson to face the Arizona Wildcats for three.

 

Arizona Wildcats

 

What has happened to the defending national champion Wildcats? They hosted the Oregon schools the past two weekends and were unable to notch a single victory. The Wildcats still lead the league in runs scored (178), RBI (161), triples (19), stolen bases (58) and walks (113).

First baseman Brandon Dixon is No. 2 in the nation with 35 runs scored, while second baseman Trent Gilbert is tied for most triples in the nation with five.

Arizona hosts Utah and California in the the upcoming weeks, both being three-game sets.

 

The Rest of the Pac

 

Utah Utes (12-10, 2-4 Pac-12)

The Utes surprised Stanford by taking two games and winning only their second Pac-12 series. Third baseman Dallas Carroll was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for his stellar play against Stanford. They travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats this weekend.

 

Opening Ceremony - 2011 College World Series  June 17, 2011USC Trojans (9-15, 2-4 Pac-12)

The Trojans lost two of three to Washington last weekend and have only won twice in their past 11 contests. They did, however, beat Oregon 5-3 for a quality win. Next up for USC is a three-game set at Cal then back home to host UC Irvine for a game and Stanford for three.

 

Washington Huskies (6-16, 2-4 Pac-12)

The Huskies took two of three from USC last weekend but had only one game in their past 10 prior to that. Washington is going on an extended road trip for the next 11 games away from Husky Ballpark. They travel to Eugene to take on the Ducks this weekend, then visit Seattle University for a single game and Pepperdine for a three-game series.

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.

Pac-12 Tournament Seedings, Matchups, TV Info and Previews

JB Bazz

 

It seemed that nobody in the Pac-12 wanted to win the regular season championship.

In the final week of play, Oregon lost to Colorado and Utah, Cal lost their final home game against Stanford, Arizona lost two of their final three, and UCLA lost to Washington State before beating Washington to capture the title.

The Bruins (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) secured their 41st regular season championship and the fourth in seven years. They are the No. 1 seed going into the Pac-12 Tournament next week and are looking for their third conference championship in seven years.

Aforementioned Cal, Oregon and Arizona all finished with 12-6 Pac-12 records, but Cal holds the tiebreaker over both schools, with Oregon defeating Arizona in their one meeting this season.

Here is everything that you need to know about the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

Game 1: No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 9 Arizona State

colvin card

  • Date: Wednesday, March 13
  • Time: 12 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

 

The Sun Devils torpedoed their season by losing their final four games and six of their last eight. After defeating Cal on Feb. 9, Arizona State was in talks to make the NCAA tournament with a No. 11 or 12 seed.

Then came Stanford. The Cardinal led by as many as 16 points in the second half. ASU clawed back into the game on Jonathan Gilling’s late 3-pointer, but that wouldn’t be enough as they fell 62-59.

The Cardinal have won five straight against Arizona State and beat rival Cal in Berkeley to cap off an 18-win season.

 

Game 2: No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 Oregon State

  • Date: Wednesday, March 13
  • Time: 2:30 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

The Colorado Buffaloes hosted the Beavers to end out the regular season, and suffice to say that the first lady was pleased with her brother’s team’s performance in that game, shocking Tad Boyles’ Buffs 64-58 and snapping a five-game losing streak.

Oregon State finished the season 14-17 and 4-14 in the Pac-12, with wins over the Washington schools and Utah along with the season-finale at Colorado.

The Buffs are the perfect tweener team, whose bubble may have burst with the loss to Oregon State. At 20-10 and 10-8 in conference, they will need wins against OSU and Arizona if they are hoping to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.

 

Game 3: No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Utah

usc utah

  • Date: Wednesday, March 13
  • Time: 6 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

The USC Trojans are an oddity in men’s basketball. They have defeated UCLA in Pauley Pavilion and swept the Arizona schools at home. They won six of eight games in the final stretch, only to drop their final two games on the road to the Washington schools.

Utah, on the other hand, started conference play losing their first five games and had big wins versus Colorado and Arizona State at home. They had a brutal three-game road trip, losing all three, but rebounded at home topping the Oregon schools in nearly identical fashion.

The 72-61 win over Oregon State and 72-62 win over the No. 19 Oregon Ducks vaulted the Utes into the No. 10 seed. There is nothing like riding that kind of momentum going in to the tournament, and I predict an upset here.

 

Game 4: No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Washington State

  • Date: Wednesday, March 13
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

The Apple Cup rivalry will be revisited on Wednesday night. The Washington Huskies (17-14, 9-9 Pac-12) swept the series over the Cougars (13-18, 4-14), but neither game was a clear-cut victory for Washington.

Although the Huskies jumped out to a big 21-4 in Pullman, the Cougars led by one with two minutes remaining. The Huskies finished strong on a 8-2 run to close out the game.

In Seattle, the game was much closer, with Washington only clinging to a two-point halftime lead. The Cougars caught fire entering the second half on a 11-2 run and led up until the 6:34 mark. The Huskies would win by a final of 72-68.

The Huskies dropped three big games to Oregon, Arizona and UCLA down the stretch, while Washington State upended USC and No. 23 UCLA. I still like Washington in this one.

 

Game 5: No.1 UCLA vs. Stanford/Arizona State

LD II No. 1

  • Date: Thursday, March 14
  • Time: 12 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

 

What more can be said about the Bruins ( 3-8, 13-5) that hasn’t already been mentioned? They have one of the best freshmen in the country, Shabazz Muhammad, who ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in scoring averaging over 18 points per game.

Point guard Larry Drew II leads the Pac-12 in assists and is No. 3 in the country with 7.7 dimes per game. Freshman Jordan Adams is a monster in steals, averaging 2.2 per game, second-best in the conference.

The Bruins lead the conference in scoring at 75 points per game and field-goal percentage at 45.8 percent.

So, why is it that nobody believes that UCLA has what it takes to go deep into the NCAA tournament?

Game Six: No. 4 Arizona vs. Colorado/Oregon State

  • Date: Thursday, March 14
  • Time: 2:30 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

The Wildcats (24-6, 12-6 Pac-12) did what they needed to do by finishing off rival Arizona State on Saturday. Arizona has been ranked as high as No. 3 this season and has spent the bulk of the season in the top 10 of the AP poll.

Sean Miller’s squad won 14 straight to begin the season, including big wins over Miami, Florida and San Diego State. The Wildcats’ conference play left a lot of people scratching their heads. They were swept by top-seed UCLA and lost at the Matt to Oregon but also lost to Cal at home and USC on the road.

Not to mention Colorado.

The ‘Cats were all but swept by the Buffaloes save for a last-second three-point shot by Colorado’s Sabatino Chen being waved off after the game ended. The Buffs exacted sweet revenge on Arizona by beating them at home by 13 points.

If Colorado can get by Oregon State in the first round, it will have the chance to spoil Arizona’s conference tournament for two years in a row.

 

Game 7: No. 2 California vs. USC/Utah

cal utah

  • Date: Thursday, March 14
  • Time: 6 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network

 

The Cal Golden Bears have been nothing less than stellar down the stretch. Even with losing the regular-season finale to Stanford, their season can be considered a rousing success, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Montgomery winning Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

With an bumpy 8-4 non-conference record, the Bears had something to prove in the Pac-12. They lost four of their first seven games in conference and then turned on the after burners. They won nine of their final 11 games, including big wins over Arizona in Tucson, UCLA and a sweep of Oregon.

I see the Bears wining the conference tournament on Saturday.

 

Game 8: No. 3 Oregon vs. Washington/Washington St.

  • Date: Thursday, March 14
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: ESPNU

What the Duck is happening to Oregon?

They lost their final two games on the road to Colorado and Utah and only scored 46 points in a loss to Cal on Feb. 21.

They won their first seven games in conference, including victories over No. 4 Arizona and No. 24 UCLA and were ranked No. 10 in the country. Then tragedy struck: Starting point guard Dominic Artis was sidelined with a left foot injury, and the Ducks lost three straight and tumbled nine spots in the polls.

They would rebound by winning five of their next six, but dropping the season-ending road trip will not be well received by the voters on Monday.

They should have no problem with either of the Washington schools as they swept them both in the regular season, although they needed overtime to top the Cougars on Feb. 16.

Semifinals and Championship Game

Game 9

cats tipoff

  • Date: Friday, March 15
  • Time: 6 p.m. PDT
  • Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Television: Pac-12 Network
  • Prediction: Arizona over UCLA

 

Game 10

Date: Friday, March 15

Time: 8:30 p.m. PDT

Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.

Television: ESPN

Prediction: Cal over Oregon

 

Championship

Date: Saturday, March 16

Time: 8 p.m. PDT

Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.

Television: ESPN

Prediction: Cal over Arizona

Pac-12 Basketball Power Rankings and Tourney Predictions

Christian Petersen-Getty Images

The Pacific-12 Conference currently has two teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP Poll, four teams in the RPI top 50, five teams in the BPI top 50 and four teams with 20 or more wins on the season.

The conference is in much better shape than last year when only the conference tournament champion Colorado Buffaloes made the NCAA tournament field of 64. The Cal Bears were invited but lost in the first four to South Florida.

A total of nine teams received postseason invitations with five going to the NIT and two headed to the CBI Tournament. It looks as if it may be possible to field five teams in the NCAA tournament if everything falls into place just so.

Here is the Pac-12 power rankings and tournament predictions entering the final two weeks of the regular season.

No. 1: Arizona Wildcats

It appears that the Wildcats are back on track. They have won their past three after suffering their first losing streak of the year. Not only did they win their past three contests, but they won by an average of 13 points, the best three-game stretch since entering Pac-12 play this year.

Two of their final games are on the road against the L.A. schools and their season finale is at home hosting their in-state rival, Arizona State Sun Devils.

Final Record Prediction: 26-4, 14-4 Pac-12

Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 3 seed

No. 2: Oregon Ducks

The Ducks are an odd bird. They dominated the Pac-12 at the beginning, defending their home court by beating Arizona and then-ranked UCLA at home. Then came the three-game slump including a 48-47 loss at home to Colorado. Just when it seemed as is they were back on track with three straight W’s, they lost at home to Cal in another low-scoring game, 48-46.

Oregon’s final home game is Thursday, hosting the Oregon State Beavers, then it finishes the season on the road against the rocky mountain teams in Colorado and Utah.

Final Season Prediction: 24-7, 13-5 Pac-12 (lose at Colorado)

Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 7 seed

No. 3: UCLA Bruins

The Bruins exacted sweet revenge on the cross-town USC Trojans with a 16-point victory at the Galen Center on Sunday. They have now won four of their last five after losing three of the prior four. With Sunday’s win, they reached the 11-win conference win plateau and 20-win overall win mark.

They are one of teams in the Pac-12 with four games remaining and host the Arizona schools this week and close out the season on the road at the Washington schools.

Final Season Prediction: 23-8,  14-5 Pac-12 (lose to Arizona)

Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 8 seed

No. 4: California Golden Bears

Although the Bears’ season started bumpy, they have been on fire as of late. Of their four nonconference losses, two of them were to teams ranked in the RPI Top 25 and their conference losses were all to teams in the top 100.

Cal has won five straight and seven of the their last eight with its only loss coming at Arizona State. The remaining games for the Bears are all at home and against teams below them in the conference ranking.

Final Season Prediction: 21-9,  13-5 Pac-12

Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 10 seed

No. 5: Colorado Buffaloes

Tad Boyle’s Buffs have had a roller-coaster season. They needed double-overtime to dispatch a Texas Southern team out of the SWAC and lost at Wyoming. They entered conference play losing four of their first five but have won seven of their past nine with only an embarrassing showing against Utah on the road and a heart-breaking overtime loss at home to Arizona State at home as blemishes.

Their final four games include going on the road to the Bay Area schools and then hosting the Oregon schools to close out the season.

Final Season Prediction: 21-9,  11-7 Pac-12 (lose at Cal)

Postseason Prediction: NCAA tournament No. 12 seed (first four)

No. 6: Arizona State Sun Devils

What a season it has been for the Sun Devils. Arizona State has revived its basketball program from life support. Since the departure of James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph to the NBA, the Devils have been doing good to win 10 games overall, they look to have 10 wins in conference this year.

The Devils won six of their first eight conference games and then hit a road block. They have lost four of their last seven but the two wins were against RPI Top 50 teams. If the season were to end today, the Sun Devils would definitely be in consideration for a tournament bid. Unfortunately, they still have three more games left in the regular season—and they are all on the road.

They travel to take on the Los Angeles schools this week then have a week to rest up for going to Tucson the following Saturday to take on the Wildcats who belittled them by 17 points at home earlier this season.

There are two ways for the Devils to get into the NCAA tournament, win out or win the conference tournament—so there is still hope in the desert for the Sun Devil faithful.

Final Season Prediction: 21-10,  10-8 Pac-12 (beating USC)

Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 1 seed

No. 7: Stanford Cardinal

The Cardinal never got any momentum going this year. They started off 3-0 and then lost three of their next four. They won the next three but then lost three of next five. This seemed to be the Cardinal’s M.O. going into conference play as well. After stringing together three wins including a 24-point victory over No. 10 Oregon, they have lost four of their past six.

They host the Rocky Mountain schools this week and close out the regular season at Cal on March 6.

Final Season Prediction: 17-14,  8-10 Pac-12

Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 2 seed.

No. 8: Washington Huskies

The Huskies love playing Arizona State and it shows. They have only won three of their past seven games and two of the victories were against the Sun Devils.After winning their first four conference games, the Husky faithful were hoping to repeat as regular-season champs. Since then, they have lost four straight and eight of their last 11.

The final three games for the Huskies are at home hosting Washington State and the L.A. schools. The Huskies should be able to pick up two of the three.

Final Season Prediction: 17-14,  9-9 Pac-12

Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 5 seed

No. 9: USC Trojans

You have to give it up for the Trojans for playing a tough schedule. The 26th-most difficult schedule is admirable, but in order for it to look impressive, you have to win more than one of them. A one point, the Trojans had lost five straight in non-conference play, however, three of those teams have a top 20 RPI ranking.

Southern Cal did put together a four-game win streak giving hope to the Men of Troy, but they have lost two straight now and the future looks bleak.

Of their four remaining home games, they host the Arizona schools and close out the regular season on the road against the Washington schools.

Final Season Prediction: 13-19,  8-10 Pac-12 (beating WSU)

Postseason Prediction: NIT No. 7 seed

Who’s In and Who’s on the Bubble in Pac-12 Basketball?

Casey Sapio-USA Today Sports

Casey Sapio-USA Today Sports

Pac-12 basketball has done a good job of redeeming itself this year. After a miserable showing in the 2011-12 season, there have been at least two teams in the Top 25 all year long.

There have been some surprises this year, as well. In what was predicted to be a two-team race between the UCLA Bruins and Arizona Wildcats has since turned into a five-team race to the finish with the Oregon Ducks currently holding the top spot.

Who will be dancing come March and NCAA Tournament time? Nobody knows for sure, but with five games remaining in the regular season, here are my predictions of where every team will be spending their time after the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.

Arizona Wildcats: In

  • Record: 21-4, 9-4 Pac-12
  • RPI: 10
  • Strength of Schedule Rank: 15
  • Key Wins: Florida, Miami
  • Tough Losses: Cal, Colorado

The Arizona Wildcats basketball team lit the court on fire, winning their first 14 games including last-second victories over No. 4 Florida and No. 17 San Diego State in Hawaii.

They had reached as high as No. 3 in the AP poll, but have hit hard times lately, losing two of their past three games to Cal and Colorado.

Fortunately, their remaining schedule looks to be winnable with the only possible roadblocks being against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion and the regular season finale at home versus their in-state rival Arizona State Sun Devils.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament No. 3 or No. 4 seed

Oregon Ducks: In

  • duck hoopsRecord: 21-5, 10-3 Pac-12
  • RPI: 38
  • Strength of Schedule Rank: 121
  • Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA
  • Tough Losses: UTEP, Stanford

The Oregon Ducks started off the season like a team possessed. They whipped through their non-conference schedule going 11-2, with their only losses being to No. 22 Cincinnati and a triple-overtime heartbreaker to UTEP.

They won their first seven Pac-12 games, including wins over No. 4 Arizona and No. 24 UCLA, and seemed unstoppable until starting point guard Dominic Artis went down with a left foot injury. The Ducks lost three straight, but have rebounded to win their last three games, including a stunner over Washington State in overtime on Saturday.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament mid-range seed

UCLA Bruins: On the Bubble

  • Record: 19-7, 9-4 Pac-12
  • RPI: 41
  • Strength of Schedule Rank: 36
  • Key Wins: Missouri, Arizona
  • Bad Losses: Cal Poly, USC

The UCLA Bruins are an anomaly. They struggled out of the gate, losing to Georgetown and San Diego State at neutral sites, but their biggest embarrassment was the 70-68 loss to Cal Poly—at home.

After the loss to SDSU, the Bruins went on to win 10 straight, including an impressive overtime victory against No. 7 Missouri. They won their first five Pac-12 games and six of their first seven with a statement 84-73 win over the No. 6 Arizona Wildcats in Tucson.

They once again stumbled after that, losing two straight to Arizona State and USC in overtime. It seems as if they have recovered, having won three of their last four, and are only a game out of the conference lead.

They don’t need to win out to make the tourney, but they cannot lose more than one or add a bad loss to USC or Washington State.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament high seed

California Golden Bears: On the Bubble

  • cal hoopsRecord: 16-9, 8-5 Pac-12
  • RPI: 54
  • Strength of Schedule Rank: 35
  • Key Wins: Oregon, Arizona
  • Bad Losses: Harvard, Washington

The Cal Golden Bears are the giant killers of the Pac-12. They have won five of their past six games, including wins over two top 10 teams in Oregon and Arizona.

Cal won its first six games out of the chute before losing to Wisconsin, UNLV and Creighton. It finished its non-conference schedule at 8-4 with a paltry 4-3 record at home.

It lost four of its first seven Pac-12 games before it caught fire. Its remaining schedule looks easily winnable, with its biggest obstacle coming Thursday night at No. 23 Oregon.

If the Bears sweep Oregon and finish with 21 wins on the season, I can see them getting the invite to the dance.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament high seed

Arizona State Sun Devils: On the Bubble

  • Record: 19-7, 8-5 Pac-12
  • RPI: 70
  • Strength of Schedule Rank: 125
  • Key Wins: UCLA, Colorado (twice)
  • Bad Losses: DePaul, Utah

The Sun Devils are one of the biggest surprises this year coming out of the Pac-12. With the infusion of two former NBA coaches to Herb Sendek’s staff and the tremendous play of redshirt freshman Jahii Carson, Arizona State is having a renaissance.

The Sun Devils began the year on a tear and had one of the best starts in school history, starting 14-2. They won their first three Pac-12 games and six of their first eight, with their only losses coming to ranked teams in Oregon and Arizona. They dismantled the UCLA Bruins by 18 points and are a perfect 3-0 in overtime this year.

The bubble may have burst for the Sun Devils after losing three of their past four games, including a loss to a Utah that was 2-9 in conference play before it hosted the Devils.

Arizona State is on very shaky ground and will need to have big wins at home against the Washington schools as well as on the road in Los Angeles. Wins against UCLA and at Arizona will all but ensure a tourney bid.

Postseason prediction: NIT No. 1 seed

Colorado Buffaloes: On the Bubble

  • buff hoopsRecord: 17-8, 7-6 Pac-12
  • RPI: 21
  • Strength of Schedule Rank: 9
  • Key Wins: Baylor, Colorado St.
  • Bad Losses: Wyoming, Utah

The Buffs have the second highest RPI in the Pac-12 and the highest SOS rank; the tournament committee loves those numbers when it comes down to selecting at-large invitations. Unfortunately, they also frown upon teams with win-loss records such as the Buffaloes.

They finished their non-conference schedule with an admirable 10-2 record, losing to Wyoming and getting blown out at Kansas. They began Pac-12 play in Tucson against No. 3 Arizona and all but defeated the Wildcats until the officials waved off Colorado’s last-ditch three-point basket. The Buffs returned the favor, handing the No. 9 Wildcats a 13-point beatdown on Valentine’s Day.

If the Buffs win out, I can see them getting an invite, but playing at Cal and hosting Oregon will be difficult for coach Tad Boyle and crew.

Postseason prediction: NIT No. 1 seed

Outside Looking In

The remaining teams in the conference will have to win the conference tournament in order to punch their ticket to the dance as there is no possibility of them garnering at-large bids.

USC Trojans

  • Record: 12-14, 7-6 Pac-12
  • RPI: 102
  • SOS: 33
  • Remaining games: UCLA, Arizona, ASU, Washington and WSU
  • Postseason prediction: 14-17, 9-9 Pac-12, NIT mid-level seed

Stanford Cardinal

  • card hoopsRecord: 15-11, 6-7 Pac-12
  • RPI: 73
  • SOS: 42
  • Remaining games: Oregon, OSU, Colorado, Utah and Cal
  • Postseason prediction: 17-14, 8-10 Pac-12, NIT mid-level seed

Washington Huskies

  • Record: 14-12, 6-7 Pac-12
  • RPI: 84
  • SOS: 29
  • Remaining games: Arizona, ASU, WSU, USC and UCLA
  • Postseason prediction: 16-15, 8-10 Pac-12, NIT mid-level seed 

Utah Utes

  • Record: 11-14, 3-10 Pac-12
  • RPI: 166
  • SOS: 60
  • Remaining games: Colorado, Cal, Stanford, Oregon and OSU
  • Postseason prediction: 12-18, 4-14 Pac-12, CBI mid-level seed

Oregon State Beavers

  • Record: 13-13, 3-10 Pac-12
  • RPI: 172
  • SOS: 139
  • Remaining games: Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Colorado and Utah
  • Postseason prediction: 13-17, 3-15 Pac-12, no postseason

Washington State Cougars

  • Record: 11-15, 2-11 Pac-12
  • RPI: 188
  • SOS: 99
  • Remaining games: ASU, Arizona, Washington, UCLA and USC
  • Postseason prediction: 11-20, 2-16 Pac-12, no postseason