Pac-12 regular-season champion Arizona is all but assured of a top seed in the NCAA Tournament and could earn the No. 1 overall seed by winning this week’s Pac-12 Tournament from Las Vegas. Arizona enters having won 12 of its last 13 games. Oregon State pulled off a Cinderella run in last year’s tournament, winning it all as the No. 5 seed before advancing all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tourney. Let’s see the following analysis and college baskebetball odds.
Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Championship
Arizona is the -120 favorite to win the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time since 2018 and is the first team to ever win 18 Pac-12 regular-season games. The Wildcats did it in the second season of the Pac-12’s 20 league game schedule after seven teams had previously won 17 league games in conference history. It is the Wildcats’ ninth time as the Pac-12 tourney’s No. 1 seed, first since last winning the title in 2018. Not bad for a team that started the season unranked and was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12.
The Cats are led by sophomore guard Bennedict Mathurin, named a finalist for the Wooden Award. Mathurin, a native of Montreal, is a finalist for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and is averaging 17.4 points, which ranks second in the Pac-12 this season. He’s also grabbing 5.7 rebounds and dishing out 2.5 assists while shooting 47.1% from the floor and 37.9% from the 3-point line. He has scored in double figure 27 of 30 games, including 11 games with 20 or more points.
Arizona is 9-1 in games play at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, which opened in 2016. It won the 2017 and 2018 Pac-12 tourneys there, while this past November it beat Wichita State and Michigan in the Roman Main Event. Its only loss there was to USC in the first round of the 2019 Pac-12 tourney.
UCLA claimed the No. 2 seed with its 75-68 victory over rival USC in the regular-season finale on Saturday. For both the Bruins and third-seeded Trojans, it marks their fourth first-round byes in the last five seasons. UCLA is +160 to win this tournament and USC +1000.
Colorado finished fourth in the standings to claim the No. 4 seed and a bye for the second consecutive tournament. The Buffs are +4000 in this event. At 6-4 in road games, all in the Pac-12, the Buff secured their first winning record on the road since the 1968-69 Big Eight champions and their first winning record on the road within league play since the 1963-64 team.
“The fact of the matter is, we’ve been playing a month now with eight scholarship players,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “And two guys, Luke O’Brien and Julian Hammond, weren’t even in the rotation at times this year. They were nine and 10 guys. Now they’re major parts of the rotation.”
ASU (+5000) is the hottest team in the conference heading to Vegas, winning its last four and seven of eight. It ended the regular season with a 65-56 home win over Stanford, which has dropped five in a row.
“I have tremendous belief in them and what we have been able to do is pretty remarkable considering where we were and just how tough this league is, especially at the top this year,” Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley said. “I have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing, it doesn’t guarantee us anything as we have to have a great week going in.”
The Pac-12 Tournament champion secures an automatic bid into the 68-team field for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, which includes 32 automatic qualifiers and 36 at-large bids. The full NCAA Tournament field will be finalized on Sunday.
There’s no way Oregon State will repeat as Pac-12 champion. The Beavers have lost 17 straight and haven’t won since Dec. 30. It’s been an inexplicable decline for a team that won the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament and made the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.
OSU opens play against rival Oregon on Wednesday. The Ducks are on their first three-game losing streak of the season, which began with a last-second loss to the Trojans on Feb. 26 and then back-to-back double-digit defeats against Washington and Washington State this past weekend when Oregon was barely competitive.Arizona will win this event, beating UCLA in the final.Wednesday’s First Round (all times Eastern)
- 3 p.m. — No. 8 Arizona State vs. No. 9 Stanford (Pac-12 Network)
- 5:30 p.m. — No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 Oregon State (Pac-12 Network)
- 9 p.m. — No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 10 California (Pac-12 Network)
- 11:30 p.m. — No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Utah (Pac-12 Network)
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