By Brendan Patel on March 10, 2014
The Pac-12 Basketball Tournament begins this Wednesday, Mar. 12. This year, as many as seven teams are vying for an NCAA Tournament appearance, and are looking to improve their resume. Of course, any of the 12 teams can secure the automatic bid simply by winning the conference tournament.
Here are 10 storylines to follow for the upcoming tournament.
Arizona had the best record in the regular season and is the only team with a realistic shot at a No. 1 seed. However, all three of their losses have come to conference opponents, and they are not as deep of a team without Brandon Ashley.
UCLA has been inconsistent all year, including a loss to Washington State in their last game of the season. Six of their eight losses have come away from home, and with few veteran leaders, it will be interesting to see how they react in postseason play.
Oregon has run off seven straight victories, including a win against Arizona last Saturday. A month ago, no one would have thought that they would be challenging for a tournament bid. They have a talented roster that includes last year’s tournament MVP.
After losing Dinwiddie to a season-ending injury, the Buffaloes have managed stay afloat with several quality wins. They are still a bubble team that must have a solid tournament in hopes of getting a bid.
Jahii Carson is one of the best players in the conference, and will be expected to lead Arizona State. Big-time players thrive in big games, and Carson is no different.
Johnny Dawkins has yet to lead Stanford to the NCAA tournament. If they fail to advance for the sixth year in a row, he may be on his way out.
California received a first-round bye via a tiebreaker. They have already beaten Arizona once, and may need to do so again in order to have a shot at a postseason bid.
Nick Johnson and Kyle Anderson were both named Wooden Award Finalists last week, and lead the top two teams in the tournament. Aaron Gordon is a future lottery pick, and Carson is arguably the fastest point guard in the country.
Who will lead their team to postseason glory?
Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon and Stanford are currently on the bubble and looking to secure the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. All are capable of winning it all and should make the tournament more interesting.
The tournament will again be held in Las Vegas, which offers plenty of extracurricular activities. Will players be focused on the tournament or distracted by the festivities?
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