Submitted by Wayne Root on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 7:00 PM
I’m so glad we spent all that time talking about the Pac 12 this season! The conference has been front and center in sports headlines all through the week. And, there’s even more lurking under the radar in the markets that the mainstream media is missing.
First…the stories you know about…
OREGON looked great here in Las Vegas last weekend winning the Pac 12 tournament. That launched them all the way up to a #1 seed in the West regional. They get a favorable path to the Sweet 16 from their perch in Spokane…facing the exhausted winner of Southern/Holy Cross Friday in their opener, followed by the jet-lagged survivor of St. Joseph’s/Cincinnati. A toughie probably awaits next week in the form of projected Duke/Baylor survivor. Though, upsets could happen. All told, about as easy a pathway as possible for the Ducks in the manageable West bracket.
CALIFORNIA is a popular darkhorse pick to go deep from a #4 seed. The studio shows were raving about their young talent…about how they closed the season well. The Bears deserve to be on your radar. It was great to see the national media notice. Though upsets could get in the way…many TV guys have been hyping that potential Cal/Maryland game Sunday all week.
ARIZONA was absolutely snubbed with a #6 seed. Even if this is a down year for the program compared to past heights…they were Power-Rated in Vegas as equal to Oregon. And, they took the Ducks to overtime at the MGM last week. How can Oregon be a #1 but Arizona be a #6?! Worse, they have to face the winner of Wichita State/Vanderbilt in the Round of 64. Both of those teams grade out as better than #11 seeds. At least Arizona will be fresh, though traveling to Providence is no gift.
Now…what you may not know about…some very interesting discrepancies between how Power Ratings here in Las Vegas differ from how the selection committee saw things. Some way, some how, the committee was absolutely IN LOVE with the Pac 12!
UTAH had the computer ratings of a team that should be about a #7 or #8 seed. They did make it to the finals of the P12 tournament, but got slaughtered by Oregon. The committee made them a #3 seed, considered virtual equals to West Virginia, Miami, and Texas A&M. Utah would be a neutral court underdog to Arizona (confirmed by last week’s P12 tourney lines), yet are seeded three rungs better.
OREGON STATE flunked pretty much every test they could take. The computers had them in the NIT (by a mile). The eye test doesn’t shine on them either. Yet, there they are as a #7 seed in the Dance. They’re four-point underdogs to #10 seed Virginia Commonwealth!
USC had the computer ratings of a bubble team, and closed the season in some of their sloppiest form of the whole campaign. The selection committee made them a #8 seed when they probably should have been a #11 or our. Note that USC is an underdog Thursday to Providence…and Providence isn’t anything special!
COLORADO is the same story. They were a bubble team at best in respected Power Ratings. Yet, they’re also a #8 seed (like USC) and a first round underdog (like both USC and Oregon State!). Embarrassing for the Pac 12 and the committee. That’s three teams in the #7 or #8 spots in the brackets who are all Las Vegas underdogs to inferior seeds!
I’m very interested to see how it all plays out. The Pac 12 could make a national splash if Oregon lives up to its seeding…California lives up to its promise, and Arizona plays with a chip on its shoulder after the snub. Hey, maybe the computers are wrong about Utah, and they’ll make some headlines too. On the other hand, the whole league could suffer real embarrassment if those last three teams play down to computer skepticism, while Oregon fails to look like a #1 seed and the others stumble.
I’m not going to tell you here in a web article which Pac 12 teams I’ll be backing or fading this week. That wouldn’t be fair to paying customers. I can tell you that some VERY BIG RELEASES are on tap right out of the gate. And, it doesn’t really matter one way or another which conferences are involved as long as we cash those winning tickets!
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More coming up for you this weekend once the ball is in the air and some results are known. This is always an amazing week here in Las Vegas because the sportsbooks are jam-packed with loud bettors. The additional Pac 12 flavor only adds to the buzz. You’re ready to watch…and you’re ready to WIN. That means it’s time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!