No announcement yet. Pac-12 Tournament Preview by Ted Venegas (TVofTroy)

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  • Pac-12 Tournament Preview by Ted Venegas (TVofTroy)

    The Pac-12 Tournament: Back to the Keyboard

    By Ted Venegas

    Well, it’s been a long time since I rock and rolled/wrote for websites covering sports, but I’m back like the gout to give the wonderful readership of this fair website analysis on the conference tournament. The Trojans find themselves in unfamiliar territory: well off the bubble and competing in the final week for the opportunity to gain a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, maybe as high as a three seed. That will require some Quad 1 wins. Will they have the opportunity to get them? Will they take advantage if the opportunity presents itself? This not so humble chronicler is about to give you my take on these and other questions by predicting the entire tournament, day by day, game by game.

    And away we go!


    #8 Arizona State vs. #9 Washington State: This is a very guard heavy match-up between the Sun Devils and the Cougs. Bobby Hurley’s time at ASU has featured the drive and kick out for threes game that you would expect when you have guards like Remy Martin, Holland Woods, and Alonzo Verge. The Cougars have their own set of back court threats with Isaac Bonton, Noah Williams, and TJ Bamba. The big questions here: 1. the status of Bonton due to his injury, and 2. Whether ASU can hit the threes it needs to win a game away from home. WSU pushed the Devils to OT in Tempe at the end of February, but the Devils didn’t shoot particularly well that game. I’m betting that this time ASU hits some threes, and that Bonton will play, but that his weeks of rust will show. Sun Devils-78, Cougars-70

    #7 Utah vs. #10 Washington: The Utes and the Huskies split the season, with Utah blowing out UW in Salt Lake City in December, and the Huskies winning a shootout in Seattle in January. Washington is another small ball team in the conference of champions, and will play zone against the bigger Utes to try to neutralize their size disadvantage. But will guards like Quade Green and Jamal Bey make enough shots to keep a Utah team that has played fairly well over the last three weeks from cashing in on said size advantage? I’m gonna go with no because the Huskies are 10th in the conference at 32.7% from beyond the arc. UW needed to make 50% of their threes to eke out a win in their last meeting. I don’t think they’ll come close to that here. Utes-71, Huskies-61

    #6 Stanford vs. #11 California: The Cardinal coasted to wins in both meetings during the regular season, as you would expect. After all, the Bears are the worst FG% defense team in the conference, and are 10th in FG% offense. However, both of those games were dominated by center Oscar da Silva, who has been out with a leg injury the past two weeks. The Cardinal have lost all three games that da Silva didn’t play, including an embarrassing 37 point drubbing at the hands of the Trojans. Can the Bears pull an upset if da Silva doesn’t play? Doubt it. The Bears are bad, and other than a freak home win against Colorado,
    they’ve shown little signs of life. Stanford cruises to a third win over Cal. Cardinal-79, Bears-62


    #1 Oregon vs. #8 Arizona State:
    You’d think that ASU might be a tough match up for the Ducks. They have the guard play to break Oregon’s press, and can match tempo due to ball handlers like Remy Martin. The problem is that they don’t have Oregon’s length. Their starting guards are smallish, and that gives the Ducks an advantage. Oregon has dominated ASU in the Martin era, winning six of eight against the Devils. ASU needs to win the conference tournament to get into the NCAAs, so there will be a sense of urgency. I expect the Devils to play with energy and swagger and to keep it close, but the Ducks have won nine out of ten, and ASU is just not good enough defensively to keep Oregon, who leads the conference in three point shooting, from winning the game. Ducks-78, Sun Devils-73

    #4 UCLA vs. #5 Oregon State: The Bruins have actually in some ways overachieved this season considering the amount of players they lost to injuries, personal problems, and the pros. The Beavers have also been a surprise in finishing in the top half of the conference despite losing their star Tres Tinkle. UCLA could find themselves on the bubble with a loss in this round due to a 5-11 record against Quads 1 and 2, so this is a big game for them. They will likely return leading scorer Johnny Juzang after he sat out the USC game, but they’re sliding into this game with a three game losing streak. Meanwhile, OSU won three straight road games before running into the buzzsaw that is Oregon. The first game was an ugly slugfest, and you can make the argument that the beavers are playing better basketball now. But I’m gonna go with the Bruins, who have generally handled the lower echelon of the conference, and are due to bounce back. Bruins-68, Beavers-63

    #2 USC vs. #10 Utah: You couldn’t find two more divergent games than the first two meetings between the Utes and the Trojans. Game one featured an efficient USC stifling the Utes into 28% shooting and winning easily. In the more recent meeting, it was the Trojans that couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean, shooting 37% from the field and 15% from beyond the arc. Coach Andy Enfield blamed the poor showing on playing four games in eight days and the altitude. I expect the Trojans to play with a lot of defensive intensity from the get go, especially after five days rest and with the memory of the last game still circling in their heads. But defensive intensity is one thing. Shots still have to fall. On the other side, the Utes have been without the services of starting point guard Rylan Jones for a while, and have won only two of their last six. If the Trojans play with energy on defense, there isn’t much margin for error for Utah. They are about equal in most offensive categories with the Trojans, and they’re a far better free throw shooting team. But they are not nearly as good on defense as SC, and the Trojans have destroyed the Utes on the glass in both games this year. I expect the SC defense to be dominant, and for the Trojans to make just enough threes to win comfortably. Trojans-68, Utes-56

    #3 Colorado vs. #6 Stanford: The enigmatic Buffs were good enough to beat Oregon, UCLA, and to bludgeon the Trojans twice, yet bad enough to lose to Washington and Cal. Colorado has arguably the best talent in the conference with length, depth, post play, shooting and an excellent senior point guard in McKinley Wright. They destroyed Stanford twice this season with defense and dominance on the boards. I don’t see why game three will be any different. One of the biggest myths in basketball is that it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season...not if the match- up is bad for the team that keeps losing. If da Silva continues to not be available or isn’t 100%, and the Cardinal continue to throw up bricks from outside like the worst three point shooting team in the conference that they are, it’s hard to picture anything but a repeat performance. Buffaloes-75, Cardinal-60


    #1 Oregon vs. #4 UCLA:
    These two teams met last week, and about halfway through the second half, it looked like the Bruins were going to pull off an improbable upset in Eugene. Then Oregon turned up their defensive pressure with their 1-2-2 three quarter court zone trap, and the Bruins handed the game over with turnovers. The game was a scorcher of a shootout, with the Ducks vanquishing the Bruins by making over 60% of their shots! I don’t expect a repeat of that, but I do expect Oregon to beat UCLA again with the pressure. The Bruins just don’t have the athleticism that the Ducks do, and the Ducks have shot 45% from three point country in their last seven. UCLA is not a good enough defensive team to withstand that. Ducks-74, Bruins-65

    #2 USC vs. #3 Colorado: This is where I would love to pull out the aforementioned axiom that “it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season,” but did you watch the first two match-ups? They had one thing in common: the Buffs held the Trojans under 40% shooting. In both games, Evan Mobley and Drew Peterson combined to shoot 34% from the field because Colorado was physical with Mobley and too athletic for Peterson. Eaddy capped the second demoralizing defeat by being a no show. The only chance the Trojans have is to play great defense and turn the game into a slugfest. Of course, the problem with that is that if the game becomes a free throw contest late, that the Buffs have an enormous advantage, as they are on pace to have the greatest free throw shooting season in the history of the NCAA. The Trojans are…not as good in that category. I think the Trojans will be more competitive than they were in the first two contests, but facts are facts: this is not a great match-up for USC. I had to go non-chalk for one game, and unfortunately, this one is it. Buffaloes-68, Trojans-61


    #1 Oregon vs. #3 Colorado:
    This is a marquee match-up between possibly the best two teams in the conference. The teams split their regular season match-ups, both winning at home. Colorado took down Oregon in game one by making twice as many free throws as the Ducks and destroying them on the glass, gaining 16 second chance points as a result. The Ducks won the rematch because the Buffs couldn’t throw a rock into the Pacific. I’m going to give the Buffs the edge in the rubber match. Wright is the Pac-12’s best playmaker, and he’ll be the man to break the press. Colorado has had a decided rebounding edge in both games, and is a better defensive team. The Buffs held Oregon below their season averages in both previous meetings, and plays tight man to man defense. Free throw shooting could also be a major difference. Colorado plays to its potential and wins the Conference of Champions! (Nod to Bill Walton at the end here.) Buffaloes-78, Ducks-75

    Hope you enjoyed my trip down writer’s memory lane. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong and the Trojans take it all!

  • #2
    TV, I agree with every game you predicted though it would not surprise me if WSU beats ASU. It will depend on the health of Bonton.


    • #3
      Great write up! I agree with everything, although I think WSU vs. ASU will be a real toss up. I am not confident about the game against CO, but I’m hoping CAE and company have been working 24/7 on a solid game plan. It’s certainly possible to overcome them (whether it’s likely or not is another matter).


      • #4
        I like CU this week as well. Hell ESPN even has them as 1 of the 8 teams that can win it all (not sure I'm buying that...)


        • #5
          Great write up. I agree with with almost everything. But I have the CoY and PoY, DoY & FoY beating the Buffs & Ducks haha. Fight On Ted!


          • #6
            Great analysis. I'm all in with every pick. give me $1,000,000 and i'm putting it on Colorado. boy, i'd love to be wrong tho.



            • #7
              Originally posted by SC MOJO View Post
              Great analysis. I'm all in with every pick. give me $1,000,000 and i'm putting it on Colorado. boy, i'd love to be wrong tho.


              I "like" your post SC Mojo .. If SC and Colorado meet in semis, I bet you lunch or dinner for SC to win it. Deal haha .And you're welcome, I just saved you $1,000,000 LOL

              Fight On!