Week 12 Pac-12 Hoops Preview: Almost All of the Seeding Scenarios

I had considered deviating from our traditional weekly preview format in favor of an IF/THEN layout of Pac-12 tournament seedings. (Are you going? I’m going.) Here’s how far I got in that excerise:

  • Arizona vs. Cal and Stanford
    • Already the 1-seed no matter what
    • Clinches conference title with any win
  • Utah at UW and WSU
    • #2 seed – Sweep OR Oregon Loss
    • #3 seed – Split OR Swept AND Oregon win
  • Oregon @ Oregon State
    • #2 seed – Win AND Utah goes 1-1 or 0-2
    • #3 seed – Utah goes 2-0
  • UCLA vs. USC
    • #4 seed – Win (owns tiebreaker vs. Stanford no matter their result)
    • #5 seed – Lose AND Stanford goes 2-0 (in Arizona)
  • Stanford @ ASU and Arizona
    • #4 seed – Sweep AND UCLA loses
    • #5 seed – Split OR 0-2 AND ASU loses to Cal
    • #6 seed – 0-2 AND ASU beats Cal
  • Oregon State vs. Oregon
    • #6 seed – Beat Oregon
    • Lose to Oregon and…

Game of the Week

On the daily, Oregon and UCLA seem to be in-and-out of the tournament. Everything depends on what’s going on in other places of the country so the GotW might not even be in the Pac-12. Oregon has the tougher of the must-win scenarios as they visit arch-rival Oregon State. UCLA is also playing their nemesis but that game is in the friendly confines. Understanding the magnitude of their own games is one thing. Knowing everything else is another. If you’re an Oregon or UCLA fan, here are the games of the week:

  • Cincinnati @ Tulsa (3/4) and vs. Memphis (3/8)
  • Colorado State @ Nevada (3/4) and @ Utah State (3/7)
  • Purdue @ MSU (3/4) and vs. Illinois (3/7)
  • BYU vs Saint Mary’s (3/5 in WCC tournament)
  • Davidson vs VCU (3/5) and @ Duquense (3/7)
  • Texas vs Kansas State (3/7)
  • Illinois vs Nebraska (3/4) and @ Purdue (3/7)

Game to Avoid

I’m inclined to say anything that doesn’t have NCAA tournament implications. There’s so much college basketball on (cough, WCC tournament, cough) that if there isn’t innate drama to the contest, why spend your time on that channel? If things are too boring for you, there’s always reading Pac-12 tiebreaker rules. But you’re cooler than that.

Something to Prove

Have the Stanford Cardinal already proven everything to us? Is there anything left to prove? I don’t think there is. They have nothing to prove or lose. The Cardinal are who they: An outside looking bubble team. So my proof seeking eyes will wander to Corvallis and the Oregon Ducks’ trip there. Their tournament chances hinge on pulling off the road win inside an arena only Utah has won in. It’s a tall order for the Ducks. Consequently, I’d also like to see – yes – further proof from the Utah Utes. I’ll be the first to tell you they are a fantastic team. But Eammon Brennon asked the question of whether or not Arizona’s win in Utah was the biggest of the season. Not necessarily because of seeding or rankings or the obvious measures. But because of the emotional ramifications of exercising the now-12-in-a-row demons, the full house, the home court winning streak, and more. There was a lot riding on that one for Utah. More than I recognized. We don’t judge them for losing but rather how they respond. What’s Utah’s mettle?

Something to Lose

There hasn’t been a single game this season in which I’ve noted the KenPom or even Vegas line. I’m willing to break that season long streak right now to note that the UCLA Bruins are overwhelming favorites to beat USC at home on Wednesday. The Bruins are a 13-point favorite and KenPom predicts the outcome to be 74-63, Bruins. USC has a 13% chance to win. Reversing the conversation, UCLA has a 13% chance of definitively not being in the NCAA tournament. Even winning this game doesn’t guarantee their invitation but it can’t necessarily hurt them. The Bruins were one of the teams I could handle in determining their seeding scenarios. Basically they are locked into that four seed which means a game against – most likely – Stanford before either being eliminated for 2014-15 basketball or playing Arizona once again in Vegas (yes, please). Whether they lose or not to USC, they’re probably the four, but the real question is whether or not they’re dancing.

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