After a wild regular season, we've finally hit March, and on Wednesday March 9, the start of the Pac-12 Tournament. The league has numerous teams jockying for position for the NCAA Tournament, and looking to make a splash before the selection committee makes its final decisions. The Oregon Ducks won the regular season title, and have been the most consistent team throughout, but Utah is coming on strong, Cal is as young as talented as anyone, and Arizona can never be counted out. The Pac-12 is as deep as it has been in recent memory this season, and the tournament in Las Vegas should be a blast. Pac-12 Tournament ticket information is available here.
Here is the full tournament bracket:
Pac-12 Tournament games will be broadcast via the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports 1.
In his sixth season at Oregon, Dana Altman has his best team, and broke through for his first regular season title after three second-place finishes. The Ducks are a fairly deep and balanced team, with seven players playing at least 20 minutes per game, and four averaging at least 12 points per game. Wings Dillon Brooks (16.7 points per game) and Elgin Cook (14.3) lead the Ducks in scoring, while 6-foot-10 forward Chris Boucher gives the team some punch down low, averaging 12 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Oregon is currently projected to land a No. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If the Ducks win it all in Las Vegas, it will be very difficult to keep them off the two-line.
Sleeper: Oregon StateThe job that Wayne Tinkle has done with the Beavers has flown under the radar, but he's really elevated the Oregon State program in a short period of time. OSU was stuck in a holding pattern under former coach Craig Robinson. In six seasons, Robinson's Beavers never finished .500 or better in Pac-12 play, and never went to a tournament better than the CBI. In year two, Wayne Tinkle has the Beavers on the NCAA Tournament bubble, with a 9-9 Pac-12 record. Of course, having some very good players helps. Gary Payton II, son of the former Seattle Sonics star point guard and nine-time NBA All-Star, has been everything for the Beavers this year. He leads the team in scoring (15.9 points per game), assists (5.3), and rebounds (7.6). At just 6-foot-3, Payton has recorded seven points and rebounds double-doubles. Freshmen Tres Trinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr., sons of head coach Wayne Tinkle and assistant Stephen Thompson, are second and third on the team in scoring, and give the Beavers some youthful depth behind Payton. The Beavers have a tough road to a Pac-12 title, but with one of the league's best players, anything is possible in March.