Arizona, you've become overplayed. Don't get me wrong, you've produced an amazing album. Stanley Johnson gets my toes tapping. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hits you over the head with power. T.J. McConnell wows with intricate harmonies and strong musical fundamentals. Even deeper tracks like Gabe York and Elliot Pitts impress.
But jeez, our west coast stations just can't stop playing you. Every week, we all have to talk about Arizona, because that's the only damned thing being played. I suppose it's just as much the fault of everybody else putting out mediocre work. It's time for you to break the monotony by conquering other parts of the country.
Pac-12 Tournament Quickie Recap
Team of the Tournament: Arizona, duh.
The Wildcats were denied Pac-12 player of the year, defender of the year, and coach of the year. Which is silly. I get that in each individual case you can argue in favor of the actual recipient, but let's not pretend that Arizona wasn't overwhelmingly better than everybody else. Although maybe it's for the best, because it allows Arizona fans to be happy watching great basketball while still maintaining a gigantic chip on their shoulders. Thank God.
So they just blitzed their way through Las Vegas to show it again. DPOY Gary Payton (1st in the nation in steal%!) lost in the first round. POY Young and COY Altman* got destroyed in the finals. Awards don't really matter: wins do.
*Congratulations, Dana Altman, for getting credit from the media for overcoming the tremendous roster issues that you yourself created with your penchant for questionable character recruitment.
Player of the Tournament: Brandon Ashley
What a luxury to have Ashley as your 4th or 5th best player. Ashley has been taking full advantage over the last few weeks of the attention other teams put on Johnson, McConnell, Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski. Ashley put up 15, 24, and 20 in three game with typical great defense and rebounding.
Game of the tournament: Oregon 67, Utah 64
I don't think that Joseph Young is the best player in the conference. I don't even think he's 3rd best. But that doesn't mean he isn't damned good. He took advantage of his own range and a Utah big who doesn't know how to defend 3 pointers to sink a virtual buzzer beater that gave Oregon their 2nd win over Utah and a stronger claim to 2nd best team in the tournament.
Utah will rue missed free throws
Disappointment of the tournament: Stanford
This was actually kind of hard, because most teams did at least something decent. I suppose ASU's late capitulation to USC was pretty bad. But Stanford easily could have lost to UW and then got destroyed by a Utah team that hasn't really been impressing much in other games. Plus, it feels fun harping on Stanford in this spot every week.
Kenpom splits players up into go-to-guys, significant contributors, role players, limited roles, and nearly invisible based upon usage rate. Stanford has zero go-to-guys or significant contributors returning from this year's team.
2 Arizona vs. 15 Texas Southern, 11:10, Portland, TNT
6 SMU vs. 11 UCLA, 12:10, Louisville, TruTV
5 Utah vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin, 4:27, Portland, TruTV
8 Oregon vs. 9 Oklahoma St., 3:50, Omaha, TBS
This is a pretty great draw. True, Texas Southern has beaten Michigan St. and Oklahoma St. On the other hand, they have lost to Arkansas Pine Bluff and Gonzaga by 40. The first round should be a breeze.
VCU is a weak 7 seed and I doubt McConnell gets too flustered with their pressing defense, but Ohio St. is the best 10 seed in the bracket and might have the talent to give Arizona trouble. 3 seed Baylor and 6 seed Xavier are both on the weaker end for their seed line.
Really, Arizona has no business losing to anybody in this bracket except Wisconsin - and if that regional final happens (you should be rooting for it, because it would be an incredible regional final), it will be in L.A. with a billion Arizona fans being effectively annoying.
Kenpom says that Stephen F. Austin is the best 12 seed in the tournament, and considering Utah's recent form, they should be on upset alert. Honestly, I don't see a ton in SFA's resume that really impresses other than an OT loss at home to N. Iowa, but Utah isn't playing so well right now that they can look past anybody.
Georgetown is a tough team, but I'd rather see them in the 2nd round than a team like UNC or Louisville. Honestly, I think Utah should be the favorites to get to the 2nd weekend from that pod - albeit, not heavy favorites.
If Utah survived, they would expect to see Duke in Texas for the Sweet 16. Getting that far would be nice, and obviously anything further would be gravy.
Oregon's 2nd win over Utah wasn't enough to propel them out of the 8/9 seed of death, and as a result if they get past an Oklahoma St. team that should be roughly a coin flip game, they will play Wisconsin.
It seems like every year or so a 1 seed falls to an 8/9 seed. I really doubt that Wisconsin will be that team.
I was flabbergasted that UCLA didn't get relegated to the first four. So: Do you think this team has somehow turned a corner since that loss to Cal? If so, they could probably beat an underrated SMU team, and maybe they could surprise Iowa St. in what would likely be a wildly entertaining game regardless of the eventual winner.
I doubt it, but feel free to prove me wrong, Bruins. If you do, you just might get a chance to avenge that early season loss to Gonzaga.
Stanford (NIT vs. UC Davis), ASU (NIT vs. UConn), and Colorado (CBI vs. Gardner Webb) are all still playing basketball. No, you do not need to care. GO AGGIES!