The Dagger will be previewing this week's marquee conference tournaments. Here's our look at the Pac-12:
Pac-12 Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas (MGM Grand)
Top four seeds: 1. Arizona 2. UCLA 3. Arizona State 4. Cal
Draw: Click here
Best draw: A Colorado team that some believe might need a win or two to pad its resume got just what it needed being paired with No. 12 seed USC to open the tournament. If the Buffs beat the Trojans, they’ll play Cal. The Buffs lost in overtime by one point to the Bears on the road last week. So that is clearly a winnable game as well.
Worst draw: Cal will likely face Colorado in its first game and the Buffs gave the Bears all they could handle last week in Berkeley. Considering this one will be on a neutral court, that could swing things slightly in favor of Colorado. If the Bears do get past the Buffs, they will likely face top-seeded Arizona, unless Utah or Washington is able to pull off an upset.
Three players to watch:
• Kyle Anderson, G, UCLA — One of the most well-rounded players in the league. He dished seven assists a game in Pac-12 play and was sixth in conference in rebounding and 13th in scoring.
• Nick Johnson, G, Arizona — He’s the clear-cut leader of the top-seeded team. Johnson averaged more than 16 points a game and can be a pest defensively.
• Joseph Young, G, Oregon — On a team with a lot of offensive weapons, he’s probably the best. He led the Ducks in scoring and averaged more than 16 points a game in conference play.
Bubble implications: Stanford eked out a one-point win over Utah in the regular-season finale. Without that win, the Cardinal would be in desperation mode entering the conference tournament. As it is, Stanford can’t afford a loss to No. 11 seed Washington State in its first game in Las Vegas.
Projected champ: Oregon reeled off seven straight wins to finish the regular season, including a victory at home over top-seeded Arizona. It also defeated the second and third seeds UCLA and Arizona State during the span. The Ducks won the Pac-12 tournament last season and while this team is considerably different, there are enough players remaining who know what it takes to get the job done. The Ducks are deep and finally playing together which makes them the most dangerous team in the field aside from Arizona.
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