If I had the opportunity to attend one of the college basketball conference tournaments this year, no doubt it would be the PAC-12. The tournament tips off Wednesday, March 8th. Aside from all of the top-tier play that will be taking place, the best part is that every game is played at the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas ( VEGAS BABY!). Being able to enjoy the beautiful weather, some great conference basketball, and some blackjack sounds like a fantastic time to me.
Now onto business, the PAC-12 this year basically consists of just 3 teams. You can count a 4th with USC (23-8) having an outside chance, but I wouldn’t. UCLA, Arizona and Oregon all have realistic chances of taking home the trophy on Saturday. Arizona is the most well balanced in terms of offense and defense of the 3, but UCLA’s high-powered scoring might be too much to handle. The Oregon Ducks (27-4) come into the tournament riding a 6 game winning streak and are the slight favorites at +145 (bet $100 to win $145). UCLA (+170) and the Arziona Wildcats follow next (+275).
If you know me, you know I’ve been high on the Bruins all year long, and I’m sticking with them. Bryce Alford leads the way with 16.5 PPG, and freshman sensation Lonzo Ball is “Mr. Do Everything.” If you haven’t been following Lonzo all year, then I’m sure you’ve heard about him in recent weeks with his father’s outlandish statements about his first born. If this were any other freshman it might be concerning, however, Lonzo is just too calm and confident to let this bother him on the court. Look for the Bruins and Ducks to rematch in the finals, which will sure to be another instant classic. I have it as a close game until the last couple minutes when UCLA pulls away thanks to the combined play of Ball and Alford.
There is only one other team that has a shot at this other than the 3 teams at the top. That squad would be the USC Trojans (+2500). F Chimizie Metu can be a real force down low, and the Trojans surround him with very capable 3-point shooters. The best of which being Bennie Boatwright. If you don’t know about Bennie, you should. He missed the first half of year with injury, but has come back strong averaging 14.9 PPG and shooting 42% from the field.
Now, since there aren’t any other teams worth writing about, I’m going to do you guys a favor and show you exactly how the tournament is going to play out.
Game 1- Arizona St vs. Stanford. Winner – Arizona st
Game 2- California vs. Oregon St. Winner- California
Game 3- Colorado vs. Washington St. Winner – Colorado
Game 4- Washington vs USC. Winner – USC
Game 5- Arizona St. vs. Oregon. Winner- Oregon
Game 6- California vs. Utah. Winner – Utah
Game 7- Colorado vs. Arizona. Winner- Arizona
Game 8- USC vs. UCLA. Winner – UCLA
Game 9- Oregon vs. Utah. Winner- Oregon
Game 10- Arizona vs. UCLA. Winner- UCLA
Chmpionship Game – Oregon vs. UCLA. Winner- UCLA
Players to Watch
- Lonzo Ball G UCLA: Does everything well, 14.9 PPG ,6.2 RPG , 7.8 RPG.
Dillon Brooks G Oregon: 16 PPG, Big time shot maker in clutch situations.
Lauri Markkanen F Arizona: Freshman matchup nightmare, 15.2 PPG