The Pac-12 began the NCAA tournament Thursday with low seeds and even lower expectations.
However, commissioner Larry Scott couldn’t have scripted a better start for the conference, which is 3-0 in the Big Dance.
In fact, the Pac-12 is 5-1 in the postseason. The lone defeat is Washington’s loss in the NIT.
Today’s action includes a pair of Pac-12 and Big Ten battles.
AROUND THE PAC-12:
— Freshmen guards Damyean Dotson (17 points) and Dominic Artis (13) and senior forward Arsalan Kazemi (11 points and 17 rebounds) led No. 12 seed Oregon to a 68-55 victory over No. 5 Oklahoma State in the second round of the NCAAs. The Ducks (27-8) are one game away from the Sweet 16. plays fourth-seeded St Louis (27-6) on Saturday for a spot in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis next week. Kazemi drew praise for his work on the glass.
— Buoyed by the support of a strong contingent so close to the Berkeley campus, Allen Crabbe had 19 points and nine rebounds, Robert Thurman scored all 12 of his points on dunks and 12th-seeded California upset fifth-seeded UNLV 64-61 in the second round rematch to avenge a loss early in the season. Justin Cobbs added 13 points and five rebounds, and Richard Solomon had 11 points and seven rebounds. Cal used a lot of zone defense to befuddle and slow down the Runnin’ Rebels. The Golden Bears (21-11) will play in San Jose again Saturday against No. 3 seed Syracuse.
— When No. 6 seed Arizona plays like it did in its 81-64 win over No. 11 seed Belmont, the Wildcats (26-7) look like a legitimate Final Four contender. They held a 44-18 edge on the boards, outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint, blocked five shots and outshot the Bruins from 3-point range while making 9-of-17 behind the arc. Mark Lyons scored a game-high 23 points.
— Ben Howland needs to win today or else it could be his last game with UCLA. The sixth-seeded Bruins face Minnesota in a second-round pairing in Austin, Texas.
— No. 10 Colorado plays No. 7 Illinois in the East Region bracket in Austin, Texas in a second-round game that features Buffaloes forward Andre Roberson and Illini guard Brandon Paul. For Roberson, a San Antonio native, the game is a homecoming.
— Arizona State is preparing for a tough matchup against Baylor in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. The third-seeded Sun Devils travel to Waco, Texas for today’s game against the No. 2 seed Bears (19-14).