The regular season is complete, the Pac-12 tournament pairings are set, and two questions loom over the conference as Selection Sunday approaches:
Will UCLA earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs?
Will the Pac-12 send more than three teams into March Madness?
Everything hinges on the results in Las Vegas, with the tournament at T-Mobile Arena beginning Wednesday afternoon.
Here’s a look at each team’s seed and matchup, plus relevant nuggets.
Seed: No. 1
Matchup: vs. Colorado-Washington winner on Thursday
Nitty gritty: The Bruins beat Arizona soundly in the finale to become the first team since Stanford in 2003-04 to win the regular-season title by at least four games. They are the top seed in Las Vegas and could be a top seed in the NCAAs. The selection committee will monitor Jaylen Clark’s ankle injury and attempt to account for his status when it crafts the 68-team field.
Seed: No. 2
Matchup: vs. Utah-Stanford winner on Thursday
Nitty gritty: The Wildcats lost two of their final three games and do not look like a Final Four threat at the moment. That could change, of course, but the perimeter play simply hasn’t been good enough for a deep run in March. Worth noting: They lost to Utah and Stanford on the road, so the quarterfinal matchup could be more challenging than it initially appears.
Seed: No. 3
Matchup: vs. Arizona State-Oregon State winner on Thursday
Nitty gritty: The Trojans edged ASU in the finale Saturday and likely will see the Sun Devils again five days later. Their fate depends on guards Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis, who account for more than 50 percent of USC’s scoring (including their assists). If the duo shoots well, USC could be the last team standing — the Trojans split the season series with UCLA, after all — but it’s easy to envision them stumbling in the quarterfinals, too.
Seed: No. 4
Matchup: vs. Washington State-Cal winner on Thursday
Nitty gritty: No team is more difficult to forecast than the Ducks, who own both ghastly losses and impressive wins. We don’t read too much into their current three-game winning streak given the second-tier competition. Far more relevant is the three-point loss at WSU a few weeks ago. Assuming the teams meet again Thursday, it could be one of the most entertaining games of the quarterfinals.
Seed: No. 5
Matchup: vs. Cal on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: What a stretch run for the Cougars, who finished with six consecutive wins, rose to the No. 5 seed and will face the worst team in the conference. Guard TJ Bamba has been fabulous over the past month — he dusted Washington for 36 points in the finale — and pairs with forward Mouhamed Gueye to give the Cougars one of the top tandems in the tournament.
Seed: No. 6
Matchup: vs. Oregon State on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: The Sun Devils swept OSU, but both games were close. And we wonder how much gas is left after the thriller in Tucson and the taxing weekend in Los Angeles — all three games carried NCAA bubble pressure. If the Devils shoot well, they should win handily, but that’s hardly guaranteed: They are No. 121 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency (according to the Pomeroy ratings).
Seed: No. 7
Matchup: vs. Stanford on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: The schedule stiffened down the stretch, and it showed: The Utes lost their last five games, and seven of their last nine, as the wayward offense undermined any chance for a major upset. (Branden Carlson hasn’t hit the 20-point mark since the middle of January.) Utah split the season series with Stanford, each team winning on the other’s court.
WashingtonSeed: No. 8
Matchup: vs. No. 9 Colorado on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: The Huskies dropped six of their last nine but got the matchup they wanted in Las Vegas after sweeping the season series with CU (by 10 points in Seattle and three in Boulder). Keion Brooks scored 39 points in the two games, but UW needs a second scorer. The best bet is freshman Keyon Menifield, if he responds well to the postseason pressure.
Seed: No. 9
Matchup: vs. Washington on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: CU will be without point guard KJ Simpson in Las Vegas, not because of injury but illness: He has mono. “He was devastated when he found the news, as we all were,” coach Tad Boyle said. Without their playmaker and No. 2 scorer, the Buffaloes will be hard-pressed to survive the opening round, much less deal with UCLA awaiting in the quarterfinals.
Seed: No. 10
Matchup: vs. Utah on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: If you’re looking for a dark-horse team in Las Vegas, consider the Cardinal, which beat Utah on the road, recently upset Arizona and has been sizzling from 3-point range since conference play began. Stanford has size and a veteran lineup, as well. But the defense is wobbly and the point guard play is shaky. We would not be surprised if the Cardinal flamed out, or won twice.
Seed: No. 11
Matchup: vs. Arizona State on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: The Beavers drew the most favorable matchup possible for the opening round — far better to face staggering Arizona State than the other option, Washington State, which hammered OSU a few weeks ago. In a best-case scenario, the Beavers collect one victory in Las Vegas. They possess neither the playmaking nor the experience to duplicate the miraculous 2021 run to the title.
Seed: No. 12
Matchup: vs. Washington State on Wednesday
Nitty gritty: The most offensively challenged team in the conference will struggle to break 50 against WSU. Once the buzzer sounds on Cal’s 29th loss of the season, the reckoning begins for coach Mark Fox and his staff. The Bears aren’t badly coached, but they are poorly constructed. The talent is non-existent.
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