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March Madness Update: Three’s a Crowd in Pac-12?

In the most recent Bracketology, Arizona and Washington State are the only two teams from the Pac-12 in the field of 68. The rest of the Pac-12 are 6-18 against ranked teams so they may need to defy the March Madness odds by winning the Pac-12 title to earn a spot in the NCAAB Tournament.

Oregon, UCLA, Colorado and California join the Wildcats and the Cougars as teams with winning records in Pac-12 play with two weeks left in the regular season.

March Madness Update: Three’s a Crowd in Pac-12?
Reed Sheppard #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats - Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

This is the final season of the Pac-12 as a Power-5 conference. Next season, Cal and Stanford are headed to the ACC, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah will join the Big 12 while Oregon, Southern California, UCLA and Washington leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. That leaves Oregon State and Washington State as the two teams without a seat in the conference realignment table.

When looking at the college basketball futures odds, Arizona is tied for fourth with +1200 odds of winning the national championship. Washington State is priced at +8000 while Utah, Colorado and Oregon have +15000 odds to win March Madness.

Here’s a look at the NCAAB Tournament hopes for the Pac-12 teams.


Big Dance Bound: Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

The big question for Arizona is not whether the Wildcats will be among the teams vying for the 2024 national championship but whether they will be a No. 1 seed.

Arizona is fourth in the NCAAB NET rankings and if the tournament began today, the Wildcats would be on the top line thanks to a 7-3 record in Quad 1 games, is 13th in strength of schedule, and has played only three Quad 4 games. The only drawback is the lack of quality games for the Wildcats in Pac-12 play.

Washington State defeated Arizona twice this season and looks to be in great shape to make it into the tournament.

The Cougars are just 32nd in the NCAAB NET rankings but are showing up as a potential No. 5 seed in some of the projected March Madness brackets.

There’s not much in Washington State’s non-conference schedule that will wow the selection committee so it remains to be seen how that will impact the tournament seed for the Cougars.


On the Bubble

Colorado is ahead of Washington State in the NCAA NET rankings. However, a 9-7 record in the weakest of the Power-5 conferences is a bit of a concern. At the time, Colorado’s win over Miami in the NABC Brooklyn Showcase looked like a victory that would help the Buffaloes when it came to selecting the March Madness bracket. However, that is no longer the case as Miami has been one of the biggest disappointments this season.

The Buffaloes are 42nd in RPI and losing to Arizona by 47 and 20 points won’t aid the Buffaloes’ cause.

Utah is just 53rd in the NCAAB NET rankings and is just 3-7 in Quad 1 games. A 7-9 record in Pac-12 play is another concerning number for the Utes and the NCAAB odds of Utah earning an at-large bid are not promising.

Oregon’s 18-9 record and 10-6 mark in the Pac-12 looks pretty good at first glance. However, a 2-4 record in Quad 1 games has the Ducks just 63rd in the NCAAB NET rankings.


Wait ‘Til Next Year

Washington might be 70th in the NCAAB NET rankings, but a 15-13 record is not going to get the job done. The Huskies need to win out just to finish at .500 in conference play.

No. 101 Southern California (0-6 in Quad 1 games), and No. 112 UCLA (0-6 in Quad 1 games) have been bitter disappointments. Both teams will likely need to win the Pac-12 tournament to secure a spot in the March Madness bracket.

UCLA does have games left in the regular season against Washington State and Arizona so perhaps the Bruins will move into bubble team territory.

No. 116 Stanford, No. 127 Arizona State, and No. 167 Oregon State are bringing up the rear in the Pac-12. It will take a run in the conference tournament for them to take spots away from bubble teams by earning the Pac-12’s automatic bid.


Questions Of The Day

Which Pac-12 team has the best record against the spread this season?

Arizona is 17-10 against the Las Vegas NCAAB odds. No other team is more than two games over .500 against the spread this season.

Who has the best odds of winning March Madness among Pac-12 teams?

Arizona was tied for second with +1000 championship odds when the season began and those odds have moved to +1200. That is still the best mark among Pac-12 teams.

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