Pac-12 tournament bracket time has nearly arrived. Five Pac-12 teams are given good odds at securing a bid in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, but there are still a lot of important games left within the conference this season. Two schools currently stand atop the Pac-12 standings, with the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks still battling it out for the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament.
In the latest college basketball rankings, three Pac-12 teams find themselves ranked inside the top 10. UCLA is currently ranked No. 3, Oregon is ranked No. 6, and Arizona is ranked No. 7. This should give the Pac-12 Conference a great shot at having three schools receiving a three-seed or better when the NCAA tournament bracket is revealed in March.
ESPN has a new Bracketology report up as well, but the college basketball analyst predicts that no Pac-12 teams will be receiving No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, he only has one of the Pac-12 teams ranked in his top eight schools. That is a departure from what the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll have stated, but hinting that the NCAA Selection Committee is working with different criteria.
Breaking down the five teams from the Pac-12 Conference appearing in these NCAA tournament brackets, Joe Lunardi has Oregon as a No. 2 seed, Arizona as a No. 3 seed, UCLA as a No. 3 seed, USC as a No. 11 seed, and California as a No. 11 seed. This prediction would mean that the Utah Utes and six other Pac-12 teams would need to win the conference tournament to guarantee an invite to the Big Dance.
There are some very important games left on the Pac-12 schedule during the regular season, with most likely to dictate how the 2017 Pac-12 tournament bracket will look. On Wednesday (March 1), there are two games among the Pac-12 teams and they are Washington State vs. USC and Washington vs. UCLA. USC may be in a must-win situation in order to avoid double-digit losses on the season and secure a good spot not just in the Pac-12 tournament bracket, but also in the NCAA tournament bracket. At 21-8 the team may need to improve its resume just a bit more.
The UCLA Bruins may be playing for a high seed in the conference tournament and a No. 1 seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. At 26-3 on the season, the Bruins have been on a seven-game winning streak, spurred on by NBA Draft prospect and star point guard Lonzo Ball. Going up against a Washington Huskies team that is only 9-19 on the season should be an easy victory, but this is the type of game that can be a pitfall for a Pac-12 school trying to garner national recognition. Taking care of business against UW will keep the momentum flowing for UCLA.
In regard to the Pac-12 tournament bracket, the Oregon Ducks currently hold the tie-breakers for the No. 1 seed. Oregon and the Arizona Wildcats are tied with identical records of 26-4 (15-2), but Oregon won the head-to-head game earlier in the season. Now Oregon simply needs to beat the Oregon State Beavers on March 4 to clinch a piece of the regular-season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. That favorable seeding would mean an easier route for the Ducks to make the Pac-12 Championship Game.
For the Arizona Wildcats to clinch the No. 2 seed, the team needs to beat the Arizona State Sun Devils on March 4. Arizona State is just 14-16 on the season, but this is a rivalry game that could make the season for ASU fans. Arizona State also gets to play host in this game that will be broadcast to a national audience on CBS. If ASU were to pull off an upset and the UCLA Bruins win their final two games, the teams would finish tied in the conference standings, The Bruins would have a much better overall record, putting seeding at risk for Arizona.
Further down the Pac-12 conference standings, three teams are tied with 6-10 records against other Pac-12 teams, with ASU just barely ahead of them at 7-10. The games that the Sun Devils, Colorado Buffaloes, Stanford Cardinal, and Washington State Cougars play will likely shift how the Pac-12 tournament brackets wind up appearing. Below is how the Pac-12 standings currently affect the outlook for the tournament with the up-to-date seeds for all Pac-12 teams.
2017 Pac-12 Conference Tournament Brackets (As Of March 1)
Game 1: No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Stanford (12 p.m. PT)
Game 2: No. 5 Utah vs. No. 12 Oregon State (2:30 p.m. PT)
Game 3: No. 7 Arizona State vs. No. 10 Washington State (6 p.m. PT)
Game 4: No. 6 USC vs. No. 11 Washington (8:30 p.m. PT)
Game 5: No. 1 Oregon vs. Game 1 Winner (12 p.m. PT)
Game 6: No. 4 California vs. Game 2 Winner (2:30 p.m. PT)
Game 7: No. 2 Arizona vs. Game 3 Winner (6 p.m. PT)
Game 8: No. 3 UCLA vs. Game 4 Winner (8:30 p.m. PT)
Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner (6 p.m. PT)
Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner (8:30 p.m. PT)
Pac-12 Championship Game: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner (8 p.m. PT)
There is still a game to be played between Colorado and Stanford on March 2 that is important in regard to the Pac-12 standings. Colorado currently holds the three-team tiebreaker (which includes WSU) and would secure a better seed by beating Stanford. A loss to Stanford would drop Colorado in the seeding, though, as they would then have a worse mark in the tie-breakers. WSU, Stanford, and Colorado each have a shot at catching the No. 7 seeded Arizona State Sun Devils by winning their final two regular-season games. That should provide some very exciting conference play.
For fans of the Washington Huskies and Oregon State Beavers, the end to the college basketball season cannot come soon enough. UW just got swept by WSU in the season-series, while OSU could now finish with a record of just 5-26 in the Pac-12 standings. Everything is up in the air when the Pac-12 Tournament tips off on March 8, but there is a lot that still has to be decided when it comes to the seeding. By the end of the current week, the final 2017 Pac-12 tournament bracket will take shape, letting fans know game times for their respective Pac-12 teams in Las Vegas.
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