Video credit: Pac-12 Networks
Washington is eighth in the Pac-12 standings. At best, the Huskies can finish fifth in the conference, which means they’ll have to win four games to claim the league tournament title. It’s not an impossible task.
Last year Colorado was a No. 6 seed and won four games, including a 53-51 victory over No. 4 seed Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament final. The Buffaloes tied USC in 2009 for the lowest-seeded team to claim the conference tourney crown. Colorado was also the first team to win four games at the conference tourney.The Buffs captured the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament and won it’s first-round game.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the story is Colorado was reeling before the postseason began. The Buffaloes lost three of the last four games in conference and finished the regular season with a 19-11 overall record and an 11-7 mark in league play.
You can bet every coach with teams playing on the first day of the Pac-12 Tournament this year will remind their players about Colorado. Say what you will about the fairness of awarding a NCAA tournament berth to the conference tournament winner over the regular-season conference champ, but the current format creates some intrigue at least for the first two days of the league tourney.
Can anyone duplicate Colorado’s amazing run last year?
Maybe Washington. Or Stanford, which won the NIT last year. Or USC, which is 5-2 over the past seven games including wins over UCLA and Arizona.
Or maybe Colorado, which is currently fifth in the league standings, will take the long path once again and repeat as conference tourney champs.
As Washington center Aziz N’Diaye said this week: “The postseason is a new season. It’s a chance for everybody to finish things on a positive note.”
AROUND THE PAC-12:
— Here’s a look at the league standings and how the bracket would look if the Pac-12 Tournament started today.
— Washington’s home defeat to Utah looks worse with each passing day. It was the only conference road win for the Utes, which is 11-16 and 3-12. Utah shot 29.1 percent from the floor and looks like a team that’s fallen apart.
— Oregon regained sole possession of the Pac-12 lead with an 85-75 win over Oregon State that gave the Ducks a regular-season sweep over their in-state rival.
— Big showdown Saturday in Berkeley, Calif. when two of the hottest teams in the conference clash. Colorado (19-8, 9-6), which has won five of its last six games and eight of its last 10, is gaining confidence and swagger. Cal has also been really good as of late.
— UCLA coach Ben Howland paid a compliment to the media, which labeled his freshman as the No. 1 recruiting class in 2012. The Baby Bruins are living up to the hype and UCLA (21-7, 11-4) needs to win its remaining three games to secure at least a share of the conference title.
— With one game remaining, new Pauley Pavilion receives a passing grade.