If you’re an avid college basketball fan, then you probably look forward to March all year long. It’s that time of year again, let the madness begin.
The women’s Pac-12 basketball tournament kicks off on Thursday at the Key Arena in Seattle, Wash. and with so many teams close in record, it will be one of the most exciting conference tournaments of the year.
USC and Oregon State face off in the first game of the tournament at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Although the Trojans — 10-19 — and the Beavers –10-20– have nearly identical NCAA records, USC is favored based on their conference record. The Trojans have a 7-11 Pac-12 record while the Beavers managed only a 4-14.
Next is the Utah-Arizona matchup at 3:30 p.m., which probably will not be as close as the game before it. The Utes holds a better record overall at 17-12 (8-10 Pac-12) as opposed to the Wildcats at 12-17 (4-14 Pac-12) so the Utes are heavily favored to win this contest.
Washington State takes on Arizona State later that night, in what should be a close game. The Cougars have a slightly better record in Pac-12 play at 6-12 over the Sun Devils’ 5-13. Washington State has gone cold after ending the season with a 5-game losing streak though, so the momentum will most likely be in Arizona State’s favor on Thursday night.
The women will end the night with a matchup between Washington and Oregon with Washington coming in as the favorite to win. The Huskies currently stand at fifth place in the Pac-12 with an 11-7 record in conference play and a 19-10 record overall. The Ducks currently sit in last place in the Pac-12 with a 2-16 record in the conference and a 4-26 record overall. Washington will be expected to win but anything can happen in the postseason.
Day two of the tournament will bring more excitement as the top four seeds start play. First up we’ll see the winner of the USC-Oregon game take on the No. 2 seed, California.
There’s no denying that Cal is one of the best teams in the nation after being ranked number five in the AP poll this week, making them the easy choice to win this game and a favorite to win the tournament.
Next, the winner of the Utah-Arizona game will face No. 3 UCLA. The Bruins finished the season 14-4 in the Pac-12 and 23-6 overall, which is extraordinary compared to Utah’s record in both fields. UCLA will be heavily favored in this matchup.
After that No. 1 Stanford will take on the winner of the Arizona State-Washington game from the day before. Although ASU will likely advance to the second round, Stanford is the best team in the Pac-12 this year.
Finally, No. 4 Colorado will battle the winner of the Washington-Oregon game. CU had an explosive season after finishing 24-5 and they will be the slight favorite to beat the Huskies or Ducks in the second round.
If the favorites prevail in the first two rounds, Cal and UCLA will face each other, followed by Colorado and Stanford. After finishing the regular season with 14- and 15-game win streaks, Stanford and California are favored to come out on top.
The battle for the Pac-12 title will be extremely close and could go to any of the top four teams, but Cal and Stanford are the favorites to win it all. Although the records of the two teams are nearly identical in the conference and in the NCAA, Cal has Layshia Clarendon on their side. The senior guard averages 15.6 points per game overall and 17.6 points per game in conference play, and is a candidate for the Pac-12 player of the year. She is also contending for the women’s basketball player of the year and Naismith awards.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Alissa Noe at Alissa.email@example.com.