Pac-12 Semifinals: Will the Las Vegas Madness Continue?
- Started By Dean Lake
- Sidelines Editor
- 1 year ago
The Pac-12 tourney has certainly lived up to expectations. The conference regular season proved that any team could win on any day due to the parity within the conference, and that theme has continued so far through the tournament.
7 of the 8 games so far have been decided by less than 7 points or by one of the three overtimes. Four games were decided by three points or less. Only Arizona's 10 point win over Colorado could be called anything close to a blowout - but even that game was within two points with a minute to go. It has been a sensational tournament so far.
Will the madness continue? Looking at the semifinal match ups and how they fared against each other conference play, the answer seems to be yes.
ARIZONA vs UCLA - The Bruins come into the game after a hard fought battle with Arizona State where the Bruins had to fight back from a 15 point deficit. Shabazz Muhammad and Larry Drew II led the scoring, but it was Travis Wear scoring 8 points in the final 1:30 that sealed the win against a Sun Devil team the Bruins had trouble with in both their conference games.
Arizona had controlled Colorado for most of their game, building a 14 point lead at one point. But the Buffs closed the gap to two points with 1:03 to go. The Wildcats got most of their scoring from guards Nick Johnson and Mark Lyons, yet their bench played strong as well.
UCLA won both conference games against the Wildcats, including a game in UCLA where Arizona shot 10-22 (45.5%) from the 3pt line. The Wildcats had no answer for Shabazz Muhammad in either game, giving up 41 points total to the freshman. Expect another epic battle. Pick - UCLA
UTAH vs OREGON - Utah is the only team to advance from the first round after the #10 seed surprised both USC and Cal on successive days. A short-handed USC team made a comeback late, but the Utes gutted out a close win lead by guard, Jarred DuBois. Against Cal the Utes battled all day, and it was DuBois with the heroics as he hit three pointer with just four ticks left to send the game into overtime. The Utes dominated the Golden Bears in the extra period.
Oregon was not playing well coming into the tourney, but some of the question marks were erased with an overtime win over Washington. They have removed themselves from the bubble picture and are now a certain at-large invite to the NCAA tourney. The Ducks got balanced scoring from four of it's starters, while the fifth, guard Dominic Artis, is still struggling to fit in after time off with an injury. The Ducks were physical up front, getting strong play from EJ Singler, Arsalan Kazemi, and Tony Woods.
These teams each won their home game against the other, the most recent was the last game of conference play where Utah controlled the Ducks who had been reeling since the injury to Artis. The Ducks shot poorly from the field and the free throw line. The Utes will be a tough, physical match up, but the Ducks showed against the Huskies that they may have gotten over the mental hump and are returning to their old selves that were once ranked 10th in the polls. Will three games in three nights have an effect on the Utes? I think it will. Pick - Oregon