If ever there was a year for the “east coast bias” argument to resurface, 2013 would be it. The Pac-12, which got five teams in the NCAA Tournament this year (as opposed to just two last year) has been looking for respect after a few down seasons. When the selection committee announced that league runner-up and conference tournament champion Oregon received a 12-seed, it became obvious what they thought of the league.
In fact, many have argued that all of the Pac-12’s team are under-seeded. California and Oregon both received 12-seeds, Colorado received a 10-seed, and UCLA and Arizona both received 6-seeds – a clear message from the committee that they didn’t view any of them as elite. Well, after just one day of the NCAA Tournament, it may be time to rethink things.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) March 21, 2013
With Cal’s defeat of 6-seed UNLV, the Pac-12 has now opened the 2013 NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 record. Earlier wins by Oregon over Oklahoma State and Arizona over Belmont have the conference on the right side of the conversation for the first time in a long time. If UCLA and Colorado can both win tomorrow, the conference would send all five of its representatives on to the Round of 32 – that would be something.
Whether or not any of the Pac-12’s teams can make a deep run in the tournament remains to be seen, but it’s hard to argue that the conference isn’t off to a great start. East coast bias be damned.