NCAA Tournament: Assessing Pac-12 Draws, Outlooks

    The NCAA Tournament is here, so let's take a look at the Pac-12 teams' draws shape up. Here's the outlook of each team.

    March 15, 2016

    The NCAA Tournament is here, so let’s take a look at the Pac-12 teams’ draws shape up. Here’s the outlook of each team.


    The Pac-12 landed a conference record seven teams in the NCAA Tournament this year. Here’s a look at the matchups for those teams.

    South

    Colorado (8 seed, 22-11) vs Connecticut (9 seed, 24-10)

    NCAA Tournament games featuring the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds are always difficult to predict. The Buffaloes set a school record for regular season wins with 22 this year, even knocking off the conference champion Oregon Ducks. However, they ended the season losing two of three, while Connecticut finished on a hot streak reeling off four straight to win the American Athletic Conference Tournament. In addition, Connecticut is 12th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just over 63 points a game.

    California (4 seed, 27-5) vs Hawaii (13 seed, 23-10)

    Hawaii has only lost once all year to a team that had an RPI below 100. However, their schedule was one of the weaker ones of any tournament team. The Warriors would not have gotten into the Big Dance without winning the Big West Conference Tournament. California is coming in at their highest seed ever, went undefeated at home, and beat Oregon, the current top seed in the West region, by 20
    points.

    Arizona (6 seed, 25-8) vs Vanderbilt (11 seed, 19-13)/Wichita State(11 seed, 24-8)

    Second in the Pac-12 in scoring, Arizona is led by two seniors in Ryan Anderson and Gabe York – a rarity in today’s college basketball. Despite their veteran leadership and experience, Arizona is sure to face a tough test regardless of who they play. Wichita State is starting two guys with Final Four experience in Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, Vanderbilt is great at protecting the rim, coming in second in the SEC in blocks per game and has picked up big wins against Texas A&M and Kentucky this year.

    West

    Oregon (1 seed, 28-6) vs Holy Cross(16 seed, 14-19)/Southern (16 seed, 22-12)

    Regardless of who the Ducks play, don’t expect them to be the first team to ever lose to a No. 16 seed. Southern finished fourth in the SWAC, while Holy Cross is five games below .500. Meanwhile, the Ducks are riding high after winning eight straight and coasting to a regular season and conference tournament championship. To cap it off, they did it all with the nation’s third toughest schedule.

    Oregon State (7 seed, 19-12) vs Virginia Commonwealth (10 seed, 24-10)

    Oregon State is back in the tournament for the first time since 1990. Led by Gary Payton II in points per game, steals, and assists, the Beavers gutted their way into an at-large berth on the back of one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Virginia Commonwealth was in a three-way tie for the Atlantic 10 regular season championship and nearly won the conference tournament. VCU’s four leading scorers are upperclassmen and lead a tournament-tested team that has been to the tournament every year with its current upperclassmen.

    East

    Southern California (8 seed, 21-12) vs Providence (9 seed, 23-10)

    Southern California is back in the tournament for the first time since 2011, as Andy Enfield gets his first tournament berth at the school. The Trojans are led by sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin and junior forward Nikola Jovanovic. They struggled in big games this year, going 1-3 against ranked conference opponents. Meanwhile, Providence got plenty of big game experience, by playing top-10 teams seven times this year, beating two of them in Villanova and Butler. Led by arguably the best tandem in college basketball in Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn, expect Providence to play like they’ve been in this type of game before.

    Midwest

    Utah (3 seed, 26-8) vs Fresno State (14 seed, 25-9)

    Having won nine of 10 and featuring a future first round draft pick in 7-foot center Jakob Poeltl, the Utes should have little trouble in disposing of Fresno State, who wouldn’t have made the tournament if they hadn’t won their conference tournament. Expect Poeltl to have his way with the Bulldogs, whose tallest player is 6-foot-9. On top of that, the Utes shoot the ball extremely well, coming in with the highest field goal percentage in the Pac-12.

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