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Pac-12 Semifinals: Will the Las Vegas Madness Continue?

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Dean Lake
Dean Lake
Editor

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.

SEMIFINALS

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

Aditya Trivedi
Aditya Trivedi
Senior Analyst

UCLA is SCARY dangerous. While yes they're inconsistent and win some games in a questionably close matter, this team has a solid line up and plenty of scoring.

Seeing Larry Drew play at UNC, I saw an extremely scared point guard in college basketball who wanted to get more appreciation from the fans rather than play the best way he can. He's finally coming into his own and has recently become the scoring threat he was in high school. That coupled with 8 assists a game makes him a pick in my opinion for player of the year in the Pac 12. Shabazz is well....shabazz. He won't give you great defense, but he's a lock for 20 a night and can even drop 30 on anyone. That coupled with Jordan Adams who's another 15 ppg scorer as a freshman makes them a deep tourney team if they get hot. Oh, and I'm not even mentioning the Wear twins or slow mo Kyle Anderson yet.

I still like the picks above and look for UCLA to take the Pac 12 chip this year.

Dean Lake
Dean Lake
Editor

The way the tourney has gone so far, every game is decided within the final minute. I don't feel confident picking any winners.
UCLA will need to get a nice game from Drew and their bench to beat Arizona for a third straight time. If they do advance, I like them to win the tourney.

Bad news for UCLA

Dean Lake
Dean Lake
Editor

The way the tourney has gone so far, every game is decided within the final minute. I don't feel confident picking any winners.
UCLA will need to get a nice game from Drew and their bench to beat Arizona for a third straight time. If they do advance, I like them to win the tourney.

Kadeem Hooper

The Wildcats playing some great defense so far, holding UCLA to 35% fg with 11 minutes to go. Shabazz only has four points! But UCLA is still hanging around and they still could make a run.

Odysseus Morris
Odysseus Morris
Columnist

Wow, the Pac-12 tourney is by far the most entertaining so far. Every team came to play, every game has come down to the wire with no team having a double-digit lead inside 2 minutes to go in regulation.

Hats off to UCLA for another comeback. They are looking tourney ready. The Pac-12 could make some noise this year. Seriously have been overlooked.

Dean Lake
Dean Lake
Editor

Bad news for UCLA. Jordan Adams broke his foot and is out for the remainder of the year. He's their second-leading scorer and their best free throw shooter. Very bad news.

Odysseus Morris

Oregon held Utah to 15 points in the first half. Will this be the first blowout of the tourney? If history has taught us anything, the answer is no.

Aditya Trivedi

I think with Adams out it becomes a lot more difficult. Drew is going to have to step up big time and shabazz needs an efficient game. If Anderson steps up, it's gonna be another Pac-12 nail biter.