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5 Bold Predictions for the Pac-12 Conference Tournament

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5 Bold Predictions for the Pac-12 Conference Tournament

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Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 Conference has not been very good in recent years. Players such as Kevin Love, Brook Lopez and James Harden all left school early, leaving the talent cupboard bare at various schools. Five teams made the tournament last year, an improvement from the year before, but none got past the Sweet Sixteen. Other mid-major conferences have slowly crept past the Pac-12 in conference rankings, which was once among the top conferences in the country.

This year, things are a little different. More underclassmen are staying in school and giving Pac-12 teams the depth and star power needed to be successful. Arizona will likely be a No. 1 seed, and as many as seven teams have a legitimate chance at making the tournament.

The Pac-12 tournament starts on Wednesday March 12, and should be an exciting one. Only Arizona has truly broken away from the pack, with the rest of the teams are in a cluster separated by only a couple of games. Arizona heads into the tournament as the favorite, but all of their losses on the season have come at the hands of a conference opponent.

UCLA has some exciting offensive players including Wooden Award Finalist Kyle Anderson, one of the most versatile players in the country. Arizona State has one of the fastest point guards in the country and an intimidating shot-blocker at center. Both Oregon and Stanford have talented rosters that are better than their records show. Colorado has managed to stay afloat without its best player, Spencer Dinwiddie. And of course, California was the first team to beat Arizona.

So as the Pac-12 tournament approaches, here are five bold predictions to what should be a great tournament.

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Arizona Will Not Win the Pac-12 Tournament

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Scott Olmos - USA TODAY Sports

Arizona is no doubt the best team in the conference. But as we have seen in the past, the top-seeded team does not always win. The conference is deeper than in years past, and will be looking to knock off the top team. It is likely that one of the many teams on the bubble will beat the Wildcats as they play every game as if it is their last.

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UCLA Will Lose Their First Game

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Joe Nicholson - USA TODAY Sports

UCLA is a vastly underrated team who has played a more exciting brand of basketball than in years past. They have too much talent to not make a run in the NCAA tournament. But in the Pac-12 tournament, their first game will likely be against an opponent desperate for a win to improve their resume. They will surely be caught off-guard, and playing away from home will not help.

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The Bottom Three Teams Will Not Win a Game

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Kelley L. Cox - USA TODAY Sports

Both USC and Washington State have been the worst teams in the Pac-12 this year. Oregon State at least has won a handful of games, but are over-matched against conference opponents. All three of these teams will lose on Wednesday night, which may not seem like a bold prediction, but there are always plenty of upsets come postseason.

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The Pac-12 Will Get Six Bids

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Isaiah J. Downing - USA TODAY Sports

By the end of the weekend, the Pac-12 will have earned six bids for the NCAA tournament. Currently, only Arizona and UCLA seem like locks, but four other teams will gather some wins to further secure their spot.

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The Tournament Will Be Considered a Success

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Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 tournament has certainly had its ups and downs in previous years, but this year will be one of the better years. Most teams are still battling to secure a spot in the tournament and will want to play their hearts out to make sure their seasons do not end early. While Las Vegas does offer some distractions, it can also be a great place to showcase the talent in the conference. It will surely be one of the most competitive tournaments in the country, with teams battling for postseason glory.