2021 Pac 12 Tournament Preview
Of the power five conferences, the Pac-12 has been the weakest of late. The conference will get its share of teams in the tournament, but none on the top lines. USC looked like it would be the team to separate from the rest, but they faded late and lost three of their last six.
USC, Oregon, Colorado and UCLA will be in the tournament. Other than these four, there is not much uncertainty among the other teams. Arizona would be a contender, but they have imposed a postseason ban for this season.
The Ducks are rolling right now, having won 10 of their last 11 games. Chris Duarte has taken on the heavy task of filling the void left by Payton Pritchard. He averages 17.3 points-per-game, and he is helped by Eugene Omuruyi, a tough player in the frontcourt who can step outside and knock down threes. A hot team in March is a dangerous one, and Oregon’s talent separates them from the other teams in the Pac-12.
The story of the Trojans is 7’0’’ freshman forward Evan Mobley. Scouts drool over his ability, whether it’s his rebounding, rim protection or bevy of moves in the post. Besides Mobley, the Trojans only other double figure scorer is Tahj Eaddy. Though they didn’t win the conference, USC recently pounded Oregon in convincing fashion. The Trojans want to improve their seedline, and a run in Vegas with a win over Oregon would surely fulfill this desire.
McKinley Wright plays with an edge, and it will be exciting to see him in March Madness. The veteran point guard leads the conference in assists and facilitates offense for a Colorado team not overly impressive in terms of scoring. Colorado is an old team, and they have shown they can beat the top teams in the conference.
UCLA lost their last three games off the season, each game coming against a team mentioned previously. UCLA still finished in the top four in the conference though, and will have their chance to make a run in the postseason. Point guard Chris Smith engines the Bruins attack, averaging 10.6 and 5.6 points-per-game and assists-per-game respectively.
This is one of the few tournaments where we should see chalk all the way around. It’s unfortunate Arizona is ineligible for postseason play this year, and other teams like Stanford, Arizona State and Utah have been relatively weak. March is Dana Altman’s month, and I believe the Ducks are going to show out. I firmly believe we could see the committee put a top-seeded team in a rough position and place the Ducks in their bracket as a lower seed. Oregon is talented, athletic and full of confidence ahead of the postseason, and a Pac-12 Tournament Championship will add to this confidence.