This year’s Pac-12 conference is mediocre at best. Against top 25 ranked opponents, they are 0-10 this season. Although some of those games were hard fought battles, they came up a little short. In my first half preview, I mentioned that I would be writing my second half preview around Christmas time. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t follow through with my word? So here it is.
My records are a little off from my first half preview compared to what they are now. Some teams aren’t even at the same amount of games as my predictions show due to tournaments that they have played in.
One team that has impressed me the most is Stanford. They have a 10-1 record with their only loss being to #1 Syracuse (then #5) by 6 points. I still think that California is the best team in the conference and will win the Pac-12 with Stanford coming in at second.
There won’t be many teams out of this conference to make the NCAA tournament. Even the ones who do won’t go very far. I say 2-4 teams make it to the dance. The teams to make it, in order, would be California, Stanford, Oregon State, and Arizona. Others that can make a push are Oregon, Washington State, and maybe Washington.
Washington has been disappointing after starting off promising. They have run into a bit of a road block since. They lost to two ranked teams by 6 points or less. They have the ability to with some of the best teams in the country, but they will need to find a winning formula to get that opportunity again.
California has a game Friday versus UNLV. This is a game I will be watching. This is partially because I want to see where Cal is at. They have only played 2 tough teams so far and lost both. This game will tell me whether Cal has what it takes to take over this conference and return to the top 25. If they lose, then they may not be ready to take that step – leaving the door open for the other teams in the Pac-12. And the other reason that I want to watch this game – Mike Moser. I have expressed interest in Moser in a past column. This kid is very talented and I love watching him play.
With a loss to UNLV I would have to say that Stanford then becomes my favorite to win the conference. This would also move Oregon State into a close second and drops Cal to third.
I like Oregon State, especially come tournament time. In an early season tournament they had a solid win over Texas and then went on to play a tough game against a very solid Vanderbilt team. That game came down to the last shot after past Oregon City High School star Brad Tinsley made the go-ahead basket for Vandy. That was one of the best games I’ve seen all season. How well he Beavers played against those two teams makes me believe that they can work some magic in the conference tournament and even March Madness.
I can’t wait for March Madness, one of my favorite times of the year. Here is my early prediction for the final four: Ohio State, Syracuse, North Carolina, and Kentucky. This is subject to change depending on bracket placements. Watch out for these four teams to upset some big teams come tournament time: Xavier, Indiana, Vanderbilt, and UNLV.