You don't even need to watch the Pac-12 Tournament to know who is going to win. We have all the information for you right here. The Dawg Pound staff has used countless keystrokes of back and forth (one time, exactly, I emailed them and each individually responded) in order to give you these concrete, accurate predictions of how the Pac-12 is going to party in Las Vegas.
Now, I (Ben) asked them to keep it brief but some people just don't know how to do it. Ugh, writers, right? Give them a paragraph and they will misplace the return key. I'm looking at you, Lucas
My official pick to win the Pac 12 Tournament - Arizona Wildcats. Sean Miller’s club is the true class of the league. With only 2 losses in conference play (OSU and ASU), the Wildcats are ready for a deep run into March. The Cats have a solid best and are anchored by Stanley Johnson, Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. What’s not to like?
But…who will win: Oregon Ducks. Avert your eyes Dawg fans but since losing an OT loss to Arizona, the Ducks have won 9 out of its last 10 games. It pains me to say this, but the Ducks are peaking at the right time. The Ducks have the Pac 12 POY in Joseph Young and the Pac 12 COY in Dana Altman. (sigh) The team has played itself off of the bubble and will be a team on the rise heading into March Madness. So, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see the Ducks win 3 in a row and secure itself a prime spot (and possibly local 2nd-3rd round games in Portland or Seattle).
As for the Dawgs…I am an optimist and based on what we saw against Utah, I believe that the team has at least one more good game in them. The Huskies make it to Thursday but fall to Utah.
Pac-12 tournament champion: Oregon.
This hurts to admit, but I really like the way the Ducks have played for the majority of this season. They have had only bump in the road this season when they lost to the Washington schools on the road back in January. The Ducks have only lost two games since falling to the Huskies in Seattle on January 18. Those two losses came at the hands of Arizona, and UCLA. The Ducks are led by supremely talented Player of the Year Joseph Young. While Young, Elgin Cook, and Freshman Jordan Bell get most of the press, I believe that the X-factor for the Ducks is Dwayne Benjamin. Benjamin's numbers are solid, but don't exactly jump off the page-he averages 8.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. However, he has the ability to get hot from behind the arc at a moments notice, and also has some serious jumping ability. if Young is able to penetrate and kick to Benjamin, and he is able to knock down some threes, and then use some shot fakes and finish above the rim, I believe the Ducks will take home the Pac-12 Tournament, and possibly make some noise in the big dance.
Washington: Unfortunately, I don't see the Huskies advancing past the first round. I believe the Stanford Cardinal are just about the worst first round match up the Huskies could have drawn, with the possible exception of the Oregon State Beavers. If the Huskies are going to have a chance against the Cardinal, they will need to figure out a way to slow down Stefan Nastic. Nastic scored 17 on 8-11 shooting against the Huskies in their last match-up, and the Huskies had no real answer for him.The Huskies were forced to help on Nastic, which opened up the rest of the floor for the Cardinal's guards.Shawn Kemp Jr. is a game time decision for the game, and hopefully he will be able to play. Still, Kemp Jr. was in the lineup the last time the Huskies faced the Cardinal, and wasn't able to slow down Nastic in any meaningful way. The Huskies will most likely deploy their 2-3 zone, which will hopefully slow down Nastic and the rest of the Cardinal. The Huskies will also need to limit their turnovers, as they have averaged 16 turnovers against the Cardinal. The Huskies will also need to limit Anthony Brown's ability to get quality looks from behind the arc. Brown has shot a sizzling 44.6% from deep this season, and was able to rattle home 3 of his 4 attempts against the Dawgs in their last match up.
Let's review, if the Huskies limit their turnovers, slow down Nastic in the paint, and make sure that Brown doesn't get hot from three, than they will advance past the first round. Sounds simple enough, right?
Look, you probably hate me right about now, and I don't blame you. Not only did I predict that the Huskies will get bounced in the first round (despite the fact that they are riding high after their upset victory over Utah) but that the Ducks will emerge victorious in Las Vegas. I hate my predictions as much as you do, and I hope that they don't come true.
This will be a pretty predictable tournament.
Arizona will boringly win the tournament.
Oregon will make it to the championship game.
The Huskies have a chance to mildly upset Stanford, but can never quite make a run and lose in the first round.
With Robert Upshaw, the Huskies lost to Stanford. Without Robert Upshaw, the Huskies lost to Stanford. I see that changing. I believe that Gilles Dierickx will do a better job than Kemp at keeping Nastic off the glass - I am finding it difficult to believe that I am betting on Dierickx. If Kemp plays, then Washington will have its most efficient offensive option on the floor: better than not having its most efficient offensive option on the floor. UW has never had the floor mopped by Stanford, which also leads me to believe there is a chance for UW, one that I believe will be seized.
Then Washington falls to Utah, who falls to Oregon, who falls to Arizona. Zona will go deep into the Torunament, and as an honored guest to the Big Dance Oregon will remove its masquerade to reveal a unibrow and iris-less eyes (and still make it to the Sweet 16 despite the repulsion).
Yupp, we are big-time, getting the former USC coach and current Pac-12 Networks analyst to do a prediction for us. You just gotta click this link.
Huskies play at 8:30 p.m. watch on that network O'Neill works for.
If you want your prediction added to the mix, tweet it to @KnibbeBen and I will embed it!