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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

March 9, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Northwest 11: Zags have a near-death experience, but finish on top

Gonzaga nearly found itself out of the West Coast Conference tournament semifinals for the first time since 1997, surviving a spirited bid by Santa Clara to win, 77-75, Saturday night in Las Vegas. For that, they get the title of the inaugural Northwest 11, in what wasn’t a very memorable year for college hoops in our region.

If they had lost, the Zags could have imperiled a 16th straight trip to the NCAA tournament, since Santa Clara had a 212 RPI computer ranking (which is hard to believe if you watch the Broncos play, at least against Gonzaga). But now, the worst they can do is drop a game Monday night to St. Mary’s, which wouldn’t be a bad loss.

Herewith, our final rankings:

1. Gonzaga (26-6) . . . Gets St. Mary’s again in WCC, but this time, in semis

2. Oregon (22-8) . . . Ducks peaking at the right time

3. Washington (17-14) . . . Draws dangerous Utah in Pac-12 tournament opener

4. Boise State (19-12) . . . Ouch: Closed with overtime losses to Nevada, Air Force

5. Oregon State (16-14) . . . Rubber game with Ducks in the league tournament

6. Portland (15-16) . . . Season went splat with WCC tourney loss to LMU

7. Washington State (10-20) . . . Hmm: Lose to USC and beat UCLA . . .

8. Portland State (16-13) . . . Win over Weber pushes Vikings into Big Sky tourney

9. Idaho (14-17) . . . At least Vandals closed well, sweeping on road

10. Eastern Washington (15-16) . . . Near-miss vs. Weber spells end of season

11. Seattle U. (13-16) . . . Finishes in three-way tie for last in WAC

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