In the Pac-12, the post-season is upon us. The regular season wrapped up last week as the Oregon Ducks claimed the Pac-12 title for just the second time in school history. Cal narrowly missed beating Arizona last Thursday in a matchup we will highlight later on in the segment. The conference standings finished with the four teams many people, including us here, expected with Oregon, Utah, Cal and Arizona leading the way. Interestingly enough, the Pac-12 media in October predicted the Cal Bears to finish second in the Pac-12 and accurately selected all top final four teams (out of order). If only I could go back in time and remind myself of this when I was thinking absolute doom had arrived after our loss in Colorado. As Oregon coach Dana Altman acutely stated, the top four teams in the Pac-12 only had two home losses on the season so everyone should be proud of the Bears ability to win on the road late in the year. Let's take a look at the final regular season conference standings, make our pick for Pac-12 game of the week and highlight a final standout performance.
Pac-12 Conference Standings (3/8/16):
Looking forward the Pac-12 conference will most likely have at least seven representatives in the NCAA tournament come selection Sunday. The Pac-12 tournament will play a big role in Washington's final position as either a very low seed or even determine that the Huskies are on the outside looking in. Oregon State will almost certainly break their multi decade tournament drought which is an added bonus for all of us as we get to see Gary Payton Jr play teams outside the conference. Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State and Washington State will be forced to turn to next year and focus on their off-season a bit earlier than anticipated.
Pac-12 Game of the Week: Arizona over California
Of all of the games we have highlighted this year, this might take the cake for the best of them all. This game had such an awesome feel to it and was on national television nonetheless. It felt as though the March madness had come one week earlier than anticipated. Cal was riding a seven game winning streak into Arizona who had been having some struggles, particularly with their guard play of late. The game was incredibly close throughout the length of the contest and thanks to Ivan Rabb, the Bears had a five point lead with just over one minute to play. That is when things started to go Arizona's way. The Wildcats hit a pair of three point shots, including a ridiculously beautiful play by Gabe York with twenty seconds left to take the lead. At the end of the contest, the Wildcats ended up being too much for the Bears and Cal couldn't finish the contest. Arizona certainly benefitted from the Pac-12 refs doing what they do best, making terrible calls that seemingly wouldn't happen anywhere else but we can save that conversation for another day. This was one of the most fun games of the year and the Bears shouldn't hang their heads about not being able to close it out.
Pac-12 Standout Performance:
Last week we gave Tyrone an honorary shout out for his contributions to Cal basketball over the last four years, this week he absolutely earned his honors. Tyrone was a big, big reason why the Bears were able to beat Arizona State and secure a #3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. He sets the tone for the Bears on offense and is the leader of this young team. Wallace had 24 points in the final regular season game and was the biggest reason why Cal came away from Arizona State with a win. Wallace will have to continue to lead this team as the Bears press forward into the tournament and set the tone for those on the team without postseason experience.