Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM
You had probably heard that the Pac 12 had fallen on some hard times. But, Joe Lunardi’s most recent “Bracketology” assessment only has THREE teams from this storied basketball conference reaching the NCAA Tournament. No wonder Arizona and Utah had such great records…it’s a really down year for the Pac 12!
But, nobody’s going to remember that if Arizona runs the table in the Dance. They have a ton of talent and may be best suited of any of the other top contenders to derail Kentucky in the brackets. Everyone else? Well…Utah has struggled to impress away from home against decent competition. Oregon has kind of moved into consideration by default. UCLA may be joining Texas as an early favorite to win the NIT!
Here are Lunardi’s most recent assessments…
Arizona is projected to be a #2 seed
Utah is projected to be a #4 seed
Oregon is projected to be a #7 seed
UCLA is on the bubble (currently in the “next four out”) category
Arizona State and Stanford have to work to get on the bubble!
It’s possible that Lunardi is underestimating the Pac 12. Many respected pundits see Arizona as a true national #2 behind Kentucky (ahead of Virginia, Duke, Wisconsin) because the dudes from the desert play so well on both sides of the ball, and aren’t reliant on three-pointers to win. Utah is certainly capable of playing spoiler though they’ve disappointed too often. UCLA on the bubble? A slower than expected start has been followed by more impressive results down the stretch. Yet, college basketball guru UCLA doesn’t have them in his top 50 (currently at #51, only two behind #49 Oregon!).
Let’s say it this way…if Oregon is a #7 seed, then UCLA and Stanford should be in the Dance. If UCLA and Stanford are NIT caliber, then Oregon should be a #10 or #11 seed. Get up to speed Joey Brackets!
Here’s this week’s schedule in Las Vegas…
Wednesday’s First Round
(#8) California vs. (#9) Washington State
(#5) Arizona State vs. (#12) USC
(#7) Oregon State vs. (#10) Colorado
(#6) Stanford vs. (#11) Washington
(#1) Arizona vs. Cal/Washington State winner
(#4) UCLA vs. Arizona State/USC winner
(#2) Oregon vs. Oregon State/Colorado winner
(#3) Utah vs. Stanford/Washington winner
Friday night’s semifinals match the winners in the order above (1-4 and 2-3 if the favorites survive). The championship game will be played Saturday night at 11 p.m. on ESPN
Arizona State is seeded ahead of Stanford…but the computers would have them well behind. Things could get very interesting in the middle of the pack given how inconsistent everyone’s been this year. And, we all know that crazy things can happen in Las Vegas! UCLA must at least win Thursday’s quarterfinal to get into the Dance. A strong showing vs. Arizona in the semifinals wouldn’t hurt.
This year’s conference margin averages suggest it would be really crazy if anyone besides top seed Arizona cut down the nets. Look at the extreme dominance that group had over the field. And, keep in mind that Utah’s best results were at home…the Utes weren’t nearly as impressive at other locales as these results would have you believe.
CONFERENCE MARGIN AVERAGES
Arizona State -1.9
Oregon State -4.4
Washington State -7.6
More questions arise there about Oregon being seeded #7 by Lunardi. Good fortune in close games doesn’t necessarily reflect quality! Perhaps the most important handicapping element of this event is the test being provided to Oregon. They snuck into a #2 seed that the computers say they don’t deserve. What they do in the Vegas brackets will give analysts a much better sense of how they should be rated in the Dance.
Vegas always makes things more exciting. Let’s hope the neon lights create some thrills for the early round matchups.
JIM HURLEY and his full team of experts will be all over tournament week from start to finish. NETWORK is the only handicapping service in the nation that provides this exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach! Possibilities on the Tuesday schedule for NETWORK clients…
*The West Coast and Summit Championships
*The ACC first round (these are DAY games!)
*Bonus NBA with an eye on Cleveland/Dallas and Toronto/San Antonio
You can purchase BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card all the way through MARCH MADNESS. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Tuesday. Remember to take care of business EARLY every day this week because of all the afternoon action!
Back tomorrow to look at the Big 12. Here’s this week’s NOTEBOOK schedule…
Wednesday: Big 12 Tournament Preview…begins Wednesday night in Kansas City
Thursday: Big 10 Tournament Preview…begins Thursday in Chicago
Friday-thru-Sunday: Select big game previews on the fly which may include Arizona/UCLA or Arizona/Utah from the Pac 12 tourney we discussed today!)
Have you fastened your seatbelts yet? The schedule is about to get very busy. JIM HURLEY’S revving his engines because he’s about to drive you down THE ROAD TO RICHES all throughout tournament week!
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