If the Trojans win their quarterfinal, you can end the debates and the doubts: USC would lock up a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans are very likely going to make the field even with a loss, but a win would seal the deal.
Oregon has to win the Pac-12 Tournament to make the field.
UCLA is playing for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona is playing to move from a No. 3 seed up to a No. 2 seed.
Washington State might be playing to make the NIT.
Let’s take you through every game and every round of this tournament: four games on Wednesday, four more on Thursday, two semifinals on Friday, and the championship game on Saturday night:
GAME 1: (8) WASHINGTON vs (9) COLORADO -- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 12 PM PACIFIC
Feb 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Mike Hopkins (left) and Southern California Trojans head coach Andy Enfield before the game at the Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado lost at Washington in December, and then again to the Huskies in 2023. Can Washington really win three times against the Buffaloes? It would be embarrassing for CU … and it would rate as a surprise.
GAME 2: (5) WASHINGTON STATE vs (12) CAL -- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, APPROX. 2:30 PM PACIFIC
Feb 6, 2020; Boulder, Colorado, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Mark Fox calls out in the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at the CU Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Cal has won only three games this season. Next.
PICK: Washington State
GAME 3: (7) UTAH vs (10) STANFORD -- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 6 PM PACIFIC
Feb 3, 2022; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal head coach Jerod Haase on the sideline during the second half against the Washington State Cougars at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
This could be Jerod Haase’s very last game as Stanford head coach. We think it will be.
GAME 4: (6) ARIZONA STATE vs (11) OREGON STATE -- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, APPROX. 8:30 PM PACIFIC
Feb 4, 2023; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats center Oumar Ballo (11) gets a rebound against Oregon State Beavers forward Rodrigue Andela (34) and guard Christian Wright (1) in the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports
We devoted a separate article to the question: Should USC want to play Arizona State or Oregon State?
You can answer that question for yourself, but we think ASU will win the game.
PICK: Arizona State
GAME 5: (1) UCLA vs 8-9 WINNER -- THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 12 PM PACIFIC
Mar 2, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Jaylen Clark (0) shoots against Arizona State Sun Devils forward Warren Washington (22) and guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. (4) during the second half at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Big news: UCLA’s Jaylen Clark, a core member of the Bruins’ rotation, is out with an injury. It shouldn’t matter here in the first of four Pac-12 quarterfinals on Thursday, but it might matter later in the tournament.
GAME 6: (4) OREGON vs 5-12 WINNER -- THURSDAY, MARCH 9, APPROX. 2:30 PM PACIFIC
Mar 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; (Editors Notes: Caption Correction) Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman talks with his team during a timeout against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon has to go all the way. Washington State is not an easy opponent, and the game will probably go down to the wire, but we’ll give the slight edge to the Ducks.
GAME 7: (2) ARIZONA vs 7-10 WINNER -- THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 6 PM PACIFIC
Mar 2, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kerr Kriisa (25) passes the ball around USC Trojans forward Joshua Morgan (24) to Arizona Wildcats forward Azuolas Tubelis (10) in the second half at Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona has lost once to both Utah and Stanford this season. It won’t happen twice.
GAME 8: (3) USC vs 6-11 WINNER -- THURSDAY, MARCH 9, APPROX 8:30 PM PACIFIC
Mar 2, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kerr Kriisa (25) beats USC Trojans forward Vincent Iwuchukwu (3) to a rebound in the first half at Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
We think Arizona State will be USC’s opponent. If that is the case, it will be hard for the Trojans to win a third time against ASU this season, especially if Vince Iwuchukwu and Drew Peterson (both far less than 100-percent healthy) aren’t able to play. ASU will be desperate, since it must win this game on Thursday to have a realistic shot at the NCAA Tournament.
If ASU beats USC, however, don’t worry: The Trojans — having already defeated the Sun Devils twice — would not endure a substantial negative effect on their bubble position. They wouldn’t fall very far. They are almost certain to stay in the field of 68, no matter what.
PICK: Arizona State
GAME 9: FIRST SEMIFINAL -- FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 6 PM PACIFIC
The Duck attempts to distract UCLA guard Jaylen Clark as he shoots a free throw as the Oregon Ducks host the No. 7 UCLA Bruins Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
We are predicting Oregon versus UCLA in Friday’s first semifinal. UCLA might struggle without Jaylen Clark, but this is where Oregon’s inconsistency and general lack of reliability is hard to trust.
GAME 10: SECOND SEMIFINAL -- FRIDAY, MARCH 10, APPROX 8:30 PM PACIFIC
Feb 25, 2023; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona State San Devils guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. (4) is surrounded by his teammates after his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win 89-88 over the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center.
We’re predicting an ASU-Arizona semifinal. ASU won’t hit a 55-footer at the buzzer this time. ASU won’t be within one basket at the end of the game this time.
GAME 11: PAC-12 TOURNAMENT FINAL -- SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 7:30 PM PACIFIC
Mar 5, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats mascot Wilbur T. Wildcat celebrates in the second half during a game against Washington State Cougars at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports
No Jaylen Clark for UCLA, combined with Arizona having the biggest fan contingent in Las Vegas, will lead to the U of A winning the Pac-12 title.
THE FULL BRACKET
The 2023 Pac-12 Tournament Bracket. pic.twitter.com/Oou2JA58I2
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 5, 2023