Weekly Six Pac: No Great Conference Has Existed Without a Touch of March Madness

Mar 14, 2023 - 7:27 PM
NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship Arizona vs UCLA
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

1. Pac-12 Men’s Basketball was supposed to be a two-team race between UCLA and Arizona this year. The Bruins remained consistent through the year and never slumped defensively while the Wildcats experienced a dip late in conference play that let UCLA comfortably take the regular season. Arizona punched back, though, and won a second-straight Pac-12 tournament championship with a 61-59 win in Las Vegas on Saturday. Azoulas Tubelis had a very Tubelis-ian 19 pointes and 14 rebounds, but Courtney Raney hit the big, late three to snatch the win. It was Raney’s only made field goal of the night.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship Arizona vs UCLA Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

2. Two Pac-12 teams on the bubble both made the final field of 68. USC earned a 10-seed and drew Michigan State in the first round. Arizona State barely squeezed in the back-door as an 11-seed and will play Dayton in the first-four midweek. It looked for a long time like the Pac-12 would fall behind the Mountain West in total bids with San Diego State, Boise State, Utah State, and Nevada in the field with New Mexico just missing out.

3. Jordan’s Jumpman. The Ali Shuffle. There are few moves in sports iconically identified with a single athlete. The Fosbury Flop is undoubtedly one of those moves. A week after UW lost a beloved icon, Oregon State lost their own in Dick Fosbury. Building the Dam profiled the man who might be the most famous high-jumper in the history of the sport.

4. The Pac-12 had a season for the ages in women’s basketball and was rewarded with it with seven bids to the NCAA tournament. Stanford earned a one-seed despite losing in the conference tournament, due in large part to a great record against high-caliber opponents. Utah was a surprising challenger for the conference’s top spot all year and got a two-seed. Surprise conference tourney champ WSU got a seven-seed, and they are joined in the field by Colorado, Arizona, USC, and UCLA. Oregon missed the field in spite of the 19th best NET rating in the country, but I’m not going to shed any tears.

5. UW won’t be in the market for a new men’s basketball coach this spring. If Mike Hopkins had been let go, the Dawgs would likely cross paths with Cal, who is once again shopping for a new head coach. Write for California examines some of the traits that are and are not important in the next Bears head coach.

6. WSU baseball has entered the rarified air of the national top-25. The Cougars took two-of-three from #15 Oregon State over the weekend to climb all the way to #20. It was cute when the Cougs won the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball tournament, but let’s not get carried away.

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