Weekly Six Pac: Something’s Bruin

Mar 21, 2023 - 3:27 PM
NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Northwestern vs UCLA
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Pac-12 sent four teams to the men’s NCAA tournament, but the only one left standing after the opening weekend is regular season conference champion UCLA. The Bruins advanced to the Sweet 16 with a tight win over a plucky Northwestern team in round two. Coincidentally, they are not the west’s last remaining team- they face Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 in Drew Timme’s last shot to win a title. And for those of you who don’t want to consider UCLA part of the Pac due to their defection, consider this a point about possible future Pac-12 member San Diego State, who survived traditional heavyweights Charleston and Furman to set up a tough matchup with #1 seed Alabama.

2. The news was slightly better on the women’s side of the bracket, albeit with a bad headline for the Pac-12. Stanford became the first #1 seed to go out before the Sweet 16 in over a decade with offensive ineptitude against Ole Miss. That impact stung a little less when Indiana replicated the feat a day later. On a more positive note, three of the final 16 come from the Pac. Colorado upset #3 seed Duke, Utah has lived up to their lofty #2 seed, and UCLA held serve to set up a very tricky game with an elite South Carolina squad.

3. Cal men’s basketball continues its coaching search for its next head coach. Two new candidates saw their names pop up on the radar: Amir Abdur-Rahim and Joe Pasternack. Abdur-Rahim is the brother of former Cal star Shareef and the current coach at Kennesaw Sate. Pastnerack is the coach at UC-Santa Barbara and has been a hot name in past West Coast coaching searches. Both coaches just made the tournament and lost in the first round.

4. The Pac-12 features two of the top five gymnastics teams in the country in UCLA and Utah. The conference title went to the Red Rocks over the weekend by the narrowest of margins. Utah won its third straight Pac-12 champion and became the first team to win the conference title for a third straight year. The two schools have a chance to square off again in the national finals in Fort Worth.

5. Arizona’s basketball teams lost early on both the men’s and women’s side of the bracket. The primary headline was the men’s team losing as a two-seed to Princeton in an ugly opening-round game. After a Sweet 16 run in year one and a Pac-12 Tournament Championship in year two, Tommy Lloyd looked to be on the right path. This loss is a major speed bump, but the squad returns a great deal of talent. They will have to replace two key guards from the rotation. If they can do so well through the transfer portal, they could make another deep tournament run next year.

6. Last week, we heard the somewhat surprising news from Arizona’s president that the media rights negotiations were nearing a conclusion. Arizona State’s president echoed that sentiment in an interview this week. While the answers are light on specifics, he was clear that he remains optimistic about the conference’s TV deal and has made no move toward leaving the Pac for the Big-12.

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