Submitted by Wayne Root on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 12:00 PM
I’ve been checking in on the Pac 12 all season because the games are played in my “backyard” out here in the Pacific Time zone. And, next week’s conference tournament really will be almost in my backyard here at the MGM in Las Vegas! With the regular season coming to a close this week, I wanted to take one last peak at how things have played out.
First of all, the standings are kind of a shocker…
PAC 12 STANDINGS
Oregon State 8-8
Arizona State 4-12
Washington State 1-16
Arizona was supposed to be the best team in the league. Even midway through the season, Bill Walton was calling them “head and shoulders” above the rest of the Pac 12 on an ESPN telecast. But, here they are sitting in fourth place with one week to go. They do have home games against California and Stanford coming up…and winning those could push them up in the conference tournament seedings. But, this just isn’t a great team when they have to play away from their home floor. (I, myself, thought the market had over-reacted when Arizona was +2.5 at Utah this past Saturday. Missed that one…but that was only a slight blip on a 6-2 weekend that saw us cash our PINNACLE on Vandy over Kentucky, as well as Texas over OU, Gonzaga over BYU, Seton Hall over Xavier, Pittsburgh over Duke, and Ohio State over Iowa!)
UCLA wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near that bad. An early win for USC on the road at UCLA made it seem like basketball had been revitalized in Los Angeles. Now, with a week to go…USC is limping home while UCLA is a relative disaster. Steve Alford has been awful at head coach for the Bruins. There’s much more excitement about red-hot Cal right now than there is about either LA team.
Oregon? When things are clicking, they’re very tough to beat. But, they can get soft on defense and sloppy on offense. So, it’s very hard to see them being anything more than a spoiler in the Big Dance, even if they do hold onto the #1 seed here in the Pac 12. If you’ve been watching games on TV, it’s a slam against the Pac 12 that a team like Oregon is a first place team!
Here’s the schedule rotation for the final week:
*California and Stanford are visiting the Arizona schools
*Oregon and Oregon State are visiting the Los Angeles schools
*Colorado visits Utah Saturday
*Washington visits Washington State Wednesday (extra rest for the P12 tourney!)
The single biggest game is obviously California at Arizona Wednesday night. That’s the league’s hottest team versus what’s supposed to be its most dangerous national threat. Oregon at USC on Saturday has lost some luster because the Trojans have slumped down to the .500 mark after getting obliterated by Cal last week. Still, you can see how it could be important for Pac 12 and Big Dance seeding.
Speaking of the Big Dance, here’s Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology estimates for the Pac 12…
Oregon is projected to be a #3 seed
Utah is projected to be a #4 seed
Arizona is projected to be a #6 seed
California is projected to be a #6 seed
Colorado is projected to be a #8 seed (but isn’t very good away from home)
USC is projected to be a #8 seed (but isn’t playing that well right now)
Oregon State is projected to be a #11 seed (but isn’t remotely tournament caliber)
That’s seven teams currently in Lunardi’s brackets. No other conference has more! If you look at Las Vegas Power Ratings, or popular computer ratings, though, the league doesn’t come off looking nearly so good. I won’t publish my proprietary rankings. I can tell you this:
*USC should be a bubble team right now at best in their current form
*Colorado isn’t near Dance caliber away from home
*Oregon State shouldn’t even be considered, they’re about the same as UCLA
It really should be FOUR locks from the Pac 12 in the Dance with USC knocking on the door as a fifth entry. You can tell that the East Coast media influences aren’t staying up late to watch West Coast basketball this season. Maybe that will open some doors for smart sports bettors this month. The Vegas line can be over-influenced by media hype, particularly because the influx of “square” bettors has been fed such bad information.
I’ll be very interested to study Cal-Arizona and Oregon/USC this week. And, then that conference tournament is going to be very informative regarding the Dance. If we see a lot of turnovers and poor shot choices in neutral court “playoff style” basketball, then it’s going to be an ugly postseason for the Pac 12. Maybe California can stay hot and make a deep Dance run. Maybe Arizona can get its act together. Utah has a chance to make some headlines. Other teams will need a favorable draw I’m afraid.
You can tell from my recent pick performance that this is a great time to sign up for service from THE KING OF LAS VEGAS! You can purchase my top daily releases right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
Back this weekend to look at upset potential against “distracted” favorites in the final days of the regular season. Then, next week, IT’S TOURNAMENT TIME. With all those big winners cashing in…and so much great action ahead, it’s obviously time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!