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Bracket Banter: Pac-12 In Review


Arizona: The Wildcats are in a good position from a metrics standpoint to make a run for a one-seed. Their biggest blemish is the Q3 (for now) loss to Washington State. They are up to 11-2 in Q1/2, with both of those losses being in Q1. This year, they have 1 Q4 game (tonight) and then 4 straight Q2 games before closing the season in LA at USC and at UCLA, which are both Q1. For Arizona to get to a 1 seed, they would almost need to win out, maybe dropping one game to one of the LA schools, but other than that, they would fall to the 2-line max. Their floor is a 3 seed for now, but as they win more games, they will stay steady on the 2-line. I believe that the UCLA/Arizona game will decide which team is seeded higher come March. I like Arizona over UCLA; the other big question is which seed-line they will be fighting for.

UCLA: The Bruin’s metrics are very similar to Arizona’s, but UCLA doesn’t have a loss outside of Q1; The Bruins are 10-4 in Q1/2 and 9-0 in Q3/4. The problem for them is that they don’t have a high-end win. They’ve beaten three teams in the projected field right now; two of those are bubble teams, and the other is a 7 seed currently. They’ve had 3 Q1A chances and have lost each of them. Right now, I’ve tentatively placed UCLA on the two line, but they could fall relatively quickly with a bad loss. If they’re able to win their remaining one Q4 game, two Q3 games, and their Q2 game remaining, then I like their chances to steal at least a three seed. If they managed to go 8-0 in the remaining, they could be pushing for the one line. If they end the year 6-2, I believe that’s good enough for a 2, which is where I believe the highest Pac-12 seed will end up; the more difficult issue is figuring out which seed they’ll be competing for.


USC: The Trojan’s metrics are slightly better than others in the Pac-12 along the bubble, but they’re still solidly on the bubble; I currently have them as a 9 seed, but the 8 line and down are relatively close and could flip with solid wins from any team. With that being said, outside of the first game of the year (a loss to FGCU (Q4)), USC’s done fairly well for themselves. With that being said, to date, they only have 2 wins over projected tournament teams. They’re 7-5 in Q1/2 and 10-1 in Q3/4 with the L to FGCU; their remaining schedule contains 4 Q1 opportunities, 2 Q3 games, and 1 Q2 game. If they avoid any Q3/4 losses and manage to get 1 or 2 more Q1 wins, I think they could slide into the 8/9 game come March. If they go 4-4 with 4 Q1 losses, I think they’re going to need to win a game or several games in the Pac-12 tournament. I like the Trojans to get into the field, and their ceiling is likely a 7 seed if they go undefeated the rest of the way, but their floor is completely missing the dance. They have a MONSTER matchup in Eugene tonight vs. the Ducks!

Oregon: I’m not as high on the ducks as other people are, but they are relatively close to the bracket at this time. If the bracket was composed of strictly metric averages, the ducks would be among the first 4-5 teams out of the bracket currently; the problem is that it’s not, and they have to furnish some results eventually. Right now, They’re 7-8 in Q1/2, 3-2 in Q3, and 4-0 in Q4. They cannot afford another loss outside of projected tournament teams this year. With that being said, that means that they will have to go to both Washington schools and Oregon State and host both California and Stanford to end the year. All of those matchups are after this brutal visit from the LA schools in the coming week. Finding a win over a projected tournament team this weekend would help to strengthen their resume greatly, especially if they could get a Q1A victory over UCLA. At their best, the Ducks could be a tournament team, but they’ve been too inconsistent for me to count on them to make a run. They’re going to be hanging out around the bubble for the remainder of the year.

Utah: Somehow, Utah has parleyed 1 win into a season-long bubble-contending resume. The deeper I dive into their resume, the less I like it. 1-5 in Q1, 2-3 in Q2 and 3-1 in Q3, balanced out by 10-0 in Q4. Taking away their Q4 game, they are a rough 6-9. Their metrics aren’t bringing me great thoughts either, averaging in the mid-50s for NET/Result/Predictives and a NET Out of Conference Strength of Schedule of 233; it’s going to be difficult for the Utes to find a path into the bracket. If they were to get closer, they would need to start by not losing either of the Q2 games remaining and knocking off two of the three tournament teams remaining on their schedule: at Arizona, home ve. UCLA and vs. USC. I don’t see a feasible way for them to get into the bracket if feels like that Stanford loss kind of sealed their fate.

Arizona State: the Sun Devils were doing so well for themselves around a month ago after winning 4 straight, highlighted by the win over Oregon in Eugene. Since that 4 game-win streak, their only win is home vs. Oregon State, which is Q4. The Sun Devils also have that abysmal loss to Texas Southern back in November which gives them a 6-1 record in Q4. They do balance that out with 3 Q1 wins, including a great one over Creighton in Vegas. Their metrics point to a team who won’t make the tournament, and I agree with that rating. Their schedule leaves them plenty of opportunity to slide into the bubble picture, but they have road games at Stanford, Colorado, Arizona, UCLA, and USC this year, balanced by Colorado/Utah at home. That’s 1 Q4 game, 3 Q2 games, and 3 Q1 games; They would need to win all of the games, not in Q1, and would maybe need to get 2 more Q1 wins, but at least one win over one of the two Q1A opportunities. Overall, I don’t like Arizona State to get into the bracket this year, they have bad losses, and the # of losses is starting to pile up as well.

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