This week I’ll be taking in zero live Pac-12 action. As in not attending any games. I’m not all too happy about it but I’ll get mine. Attending games – particularly as March is so close we’ll experience it this weekend – is as exciting as it gets. And March is perfect. Therefore, if you’re in Salt Lake, Westwood, Tucson, or Tempe, I implore you to get to the nearest Pac-12 arena, yell for your team, and buy an enemy a drink. You’ll be a better person for it and someone on the east coast will be jealous as you exit to sunshine and Spring. And while that reads pretty happy-go-lucky, the reason you need to get to these arenas is because the play will be anything but. These guys are fighting and clawing for the sport’s most coveted invitation. YOU GUYS IT WILL TURN MARCH THIS WEEKEND. THIS IS WHY WE WATCH AND THIS IS WHY WE CHEER AND THIS IS WHY WE BLOG. MORE IMPORTANTLY IT’S WHY THEY PLAY SO LET US SIT BACK, IGNORE THE NICE WEATHER, AND ENJOY.
BRING ON MARCH. GIVE ME THE BRACKETS.
GotW: Without hesitation, and with all eyes on Thursday and Westwood, it’s Oregon‘s visit to UCLA. We breifly discussed the Ducks and their stance amongst it all in the review but now it’s time to preview. A season ago the Ducks won both matchups between the two (in LA and in LV). Of course last year the Ducks were one of the best defenses in the country and, as it were, defense travels. Flash forward to this season and we saw a Wear family member shovel in the game winner just ahead of the buzzer in Eugene. With all of that said and under the pretense that I was previewing, let’s move to Thursday. The Ducks are winners of three straight and just might be sneaking back onto the bubble (if they’re not already there). The showed some propensity to defend against WSU but honestly that doesn’t count. This spade is indeed a spade and tomorrow night the Ducks are going to need to rely on their offense to knock off the Bruins. These are the conference’s top two offenses so if you like points – and you’re a Pac-12 fan so of course you do – this is your kinda game.
Game to Avoid: I’m quick to say that you should avoid Oregon State at USC because it airs at the exact same time as our GotW. But if you’re watching UO-UCLA then you might as well simulcast the Pac-12 hoops. It’s ESPN2 and FS1, respectively, so it won’t be too tall an order for the barkeep. Glancing through the schedule you’ll notice that there are some spicy contests on every single night of the Pac-12 slate (Wednesday: Stan-ASU, Thursday: GotW, Saturday: CU-Utah, Sunday: Stan-AZ). You’ll notice, however, that I missed Friday’s Apple Cup battle in Seattle. You have better things to do on Friday than watch KenPom’s 95th and 199th best teams duke it out for pride.
Something to Prove: My reaction is to call out the Oregon Ducks here. They’ve been trying to prove themselves since quacking all over themselves the first half of conference play but winning in Pauley is not an expectation. It’d be a really nice thing for them but the realist in me says a 1-1 weekend for the Ducks is a success. The burden of proof, this weekend, falls on the Bay Schools. They seem to be flip flopping as to who the hotter team is and while I recognize the magnitude of their road task this weekend (in the hateful State), the team that can fly home with a 1-1 mark is a big winner. Right, Mikey? Conversely, the Arizona State Sun Devils have got a little something to prove. They got swept on their Ski Trip on the heels of their big win over Arizona. The friendly confines can be a season saving spot but Stanford and Cal are no joke and a pair of hiccups is not out of the realm of possibilities. Spencer and I discussed all four games in Arizona this weekend on WANE (posting soon) because it’s the center of the Pac-12 universe.
Something to Lose: This late in the season it’s hard to say that anyone really has anything to lose. Everyone is vying to look pretty for the selection committee and wants to prove themselves worthy of an invite or a better seed. Thus, the teams with the most to lose would be the teams that have already proven something. Arizona‘s sweep of the Ski Schools last weekend was only the second such occurrence of a Ski Sweep in three seasons of ski schools in the Pac. It subsequently also earned them Lunardi’s number one overall seed in the latest bracketology. I mean, such a distinction suggests that the Wildcats literally have nothing further to prove, only things to lose. They’re hosting the Bay Schools (Cal tonight, Stanford on Sunday) with revenge on the mind. It was Cal, after all, that handed Arizona their first loss and Stanford that gave them all they could handle.
The YouTuber: Episode one has aired – it’s a Sunday night show so it’s up against GIRLS and LOOKING and True Detective – but rumor has it that yours truly makes an appearance in that first episode. And so believe you me, I will have that clip on here. For now, the teaser is strong: