For a conference that had more than 40 regular season league games decided by five points or fewer, would you expect anything less than the entire opening round being decided by a combined 12 points? The action started with Arizona State narrowly edging Stanford 89-88 in overtime in large thanks to the 34 points scored by Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson. With a performance like that, it’s obvious that Jahii Carson holds ASU basketball’s hopes as the Sun Devils get ready for a quarterfinal battle with the No. 1 seed UCLA.
The next game didn’t have nearly as much offense as Stanford-Arizona State, but Colorado earned a hard-fought victory over Oregon State despite shooting just 39 percent from the field — credit the Buffs for their tenacity on the glass (they out-rebounded the Beavs 43-30) and defensive end. It also didn’t hurt Tad’s cause that Spencer Dinwiddie hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half. That was pretty tight.
What does that mean for Colorado? You guessed it—another date with the fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats. As the two teams get ready to play one more time, the Tucson Citizen says that Arizona-Colorado could be another classic. Colorado knocked off Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament final last year before Arizona got some revenge in overtime to start off conference play this year. With Colorado taking the last outing in Boulder, will Arizona be able to win the 2013 rubber match?
Oregon State played in many close games this year but came up on the short end of the stick more often than not. The 74-68 loss to Colorado was but another example, and Craig Robinson says it’s time to raise the bar at Oregon State close losses will be no longer acceptable going forward.
The night session picked up where the afternoon session left off — more great basketball. In the 7-10 battle, the Utes answered USC’s moves and trash talk to the tune of a 69-66 victory over the Trojans. However, things weren’t complete until this mad scramble at the end of the game. So much effort!
The final game of the night looked like it could turn into a blowout. After all, Washington had beaten Washington State twice already this year and led by scores of 50-31 and 62-47 in the second half. However, the Huskies had to hold on to edge Washington State.
More on that Washington State rally that came up just short- the Cougs used a 15-0 run to tie the game up at 62 with 2:50 to play thanks to a valiant effort from Brock Motum, who finished with 28 points. The big news of the world was that a new pope was named yesterday, and there is what is believed to be a Photoshopped image of a person waving the Washington State flag at the Vatican. I got a good a chuckle out of it.
So let’s set the table for the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals- we already talked about Colorado-Arizona, but before that game can happen, Arizona State must go toe-to-toe with the Pac-12 regular season champions (UCLA) in a battle of Co-Freshmen of the Year. One of those frosh, Shabazz Muhammad, is returning home for a shot at Pac-12 Tournament glory. A Las Vegas native, Muhammad played his high school ball at Bishop Gorman with fellow Pac-12 frosh Rosco Allen.
On the other side of the bracket, Cal gets the Runnin’ Utes in the first game of the night session, and after ending the regular season on a sour note at home against Stanford, Cal is ready for the Pac-12 Tournament.
The last quarterfinal game will take place on ESPNU at roughly 8:30 p.m., featuring the sixth-seeded Washington Huskies and third-seeded Oregon Ducks. Oregon will most likely be dancing come Selection Sunday, so the Ducks view the Pac-12 Tournament as a business trip on their way to March Madness.
In women’s basketball news, USC head coach Michael Cooper has resigned. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors and best of luck to USC in its search for a new head honcho.
It was a rough way to exit the Pac-12 Tournament if you’re a Stanford fan, but hopefully reading about Bill Walton dishing his thoughts on Stanford basketball will cheer you up a bit.