The last team standing for the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks, fell this weekend to Oklahoma behind a monster performance by Buddy Hield. On some level, you can look to the tournament committee and utter something along the lines of "what were you thinking". Yet, they also made the ridiculous selection of Syracuse and look where they are now. Predicting what teams deserve to be in the tournament (which St. Mary's definitely did) and don't (ahem Syracuse) is not an easy job. Predicting what those teams will then do in the actual tournament is even harder which is why Warren Buffet casually offered a billion dollars for a perfect bracket last year. In the end, it's a wild guessing game that leaves a lot of people crushed and others joyous as the madness takes over. Let's take a quick dive into Oregon's loss and wrap up the 2016 Men's basketball postseason.
Pac-12 Game of the Week: Oklahoma over Oregon 80-68
Some have referred to this as a college basketball game, I refer to this as the Buddy Hield draft tape. Hield was unconscious from deep and I was rather impressed with Oregon's ability to hang in the game despite his lights out shooting. The fact that Hield went fully Steph Curry with 37 points and Oregon lost by only 12 is a statement in itself. Elgin Cook paced the Ducks throughout the game but ultimately there wasn't much they could do. Earlier in the weekend, the Ducks finally blew back their doubters with a dominate win over Duke but ultimately came up short against a better Oklahoma team with their star player on fire.
Last thoughts on the Pac-12 in the tournament:
As a one seed, I think Oregon met expectations. A lot of people set high expectations for them in the tournament and often times with expectations you lose sight of reality. As a one seed the tournament committee sets the expectation for you, they expect you to be in the final four. However falling one game short shouldn't be seen as any kind of failure. As a one seed you should be able to lose against a two seed and not hang your head. I shutter to think about the recruiting benefits the Ducks will have from two back to back successful tournament runs and basketball powerhouse Nike backing the program.
As for the rest of the conference, sheer disappointment. It is very hard to be angry at Cal given the ridiculous amount of injuries and I will admit I overvalued Arizona's squad this year. However, after watching Buddy Hield take over a game I still find myself wondering why Gary Payton II or Jakob Poeltl were not able to take their teams deeper into the tournament. Perhaps the Pac-12 truly is better at scheduling their non-conference match-ups as Nick detailed or our conferences inability to win on the road this year translated into poor tournament performances. Either way, I don't expect us to get as many invitations to the tournament next year.