Pac-12 Tournament Preview

12 Mar


March 13-16

Favorite(s)- UCLA (23-8 13-5), Arizona (24-6 12-6)

UCLA is all about a couple of threesomes, the Wear twins (David and Travis) and Larry Drew II are playing their best basketball since they transferred from North Carolina.  The Wears are putting up 18.0 points and 10.2 rebounds and Drew been a great distributor with 7.7 assists a game. Most of those dimes have been going to a trio of freshmen, Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson who account for 43.4 points and 17.8 rebounds.  The Bruins have a nice balance of young and old that seems to be meshing at the right time.

Arizona was the pre-season favorite in the conference.  Xavier transfer Mark Lyons has been good but inconsistent, Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom have been solid contributors (22.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists) and the freshmen trio of Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett have controlled the inside (14.8 rebounds).  Arizona has the most post-season experience of any of the top Pac-12 teams and that may be a deciding factor in the tournament.

Contender(s)- Oregon(23-8 12-6), California (20-10 12-6)

The level of play has improved this season for the Pac-12, the unpredictability of it has not.  Oregon has emerged as the3 seed for the tournament after finishing  12-6 and 23-8 overall.   The Ducks have wins over UNLV and Arizona and are led offensively by seniors E.J. Singler (11.5) and Carlos Emory (11.0) while Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi is a near double-double with 9.3 points and 9.6 rebounds.  But the straw that stirs the drink is freshman point guard Dominic Artis.

The best back court in the conference resides in Berkeley.  The Cal Bears may rely heavily on its junior guards Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, but they’ve been good enough to secure a   seed and   wins.  The combo accounts for 33.7 of the team’s 67.6 points, and with a volatile conference like the Pac-12 that just may be enough.

Team Likely to pull an upset-Arizona State (20-11 9-9)

The Sun Devil’s star is freshman point guard Jahii Carson but he has a senior leader riding shotgun in Carrick Felix who is averaging 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds.  A pair of big men fill out Arizona State’s cast in Jordan Bachynski and Jonathan Gilling who average 19.0 points and 12.3 rebounds. The Sun Devils can compete with anyone in the conference as evidenced by the fact that they have a win over every team ahead of them except Arizona.

3 Key Players-Dominic Artis-Oregon, Jahii Carson-Arizona State, Kyle Anderson-UCLA

Oregon’s freshman point guard Dominic Artis may not be flashy, he may not lead the team in scoring, he may average less than 4 assists per game but he may be the Ducks’ most important player.  When Artis missed a month due to injury the up tempo Ducks’ struggled offensively averaging just 63.7 points a game. Artis may not stuff the stat sheet like some other players but he definitely knows how to drive the offense.

Another freshman point guard, this one in Tempe, Arizona is the key to a Pac-12’s team.  Jahii Carson has returned Arizona State to relevancy out west.  The diminutive guard (5-10) has averaged 17.7 points and 5.0 assists a game in his first season.  Two important things have made Carson successful this season, his consistency offensively, only three times all season has he failed to score more than 12 points and he has been able to stay out of foul trouble only fouling out just once.

The Pac-12 might be the conference of freshmen.  At UCLA the 6-9 Kyle Anderson is the Bruins’ most versatile player.  He hasn’t had the hype of classmate Shabazz Muhammad or the scoring games of Jordan Adams but he does a bit of everything.  He averages 9.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game and when Anderson has everything click the Bruins are a tough team to stop.




March 13-16 Las Vegas, NV



#8 Stanford vs. #9 Arizona State

#5 Colorado vs. #12 Oregon State

#7 USC vs. #10 Utah

#6 Washington vs. #11 Washington State



#1 UCLA vs. #8/9

#4 Arizona vs. #5/12

#2 California vs. #7/10

#3 Oregon vs. #6/11








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