This is part 23 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country. We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.
Arizona St 7-11
Washington St 6-12
Oregon St 1-17
Vegas. Every damn western conference is a slave to Las Vegas. All 12 play from Wednesday March 8 to Saturday March 11.
1) Oregon vs. 8/9) Arizona St/Stanford
4) Utah vs. 5/12) California/Oregon St
3) UCLA vs. 6/11) USC/Washington
2) Arizona vs. 7/10) Colorado/Washington St
Ok, let's start with the top. I'm not sure any of the teams can reach the 1 line. Resumes are good but not good enough. Here's the quick hitting reasons why:
Oregon: Did you know they only have 4 wins over tournament teams? And two of them are USC! 2 wins over teams solidly in the field, 2-2 record in such games. How can you get a 1 seed with that? They do have 11 wins between RPI 51 and 100, which is why they're on the 2 line...but the 1 line? No
Arizona: They have the same 4 wins over tournament teams...and 3 are USC twice and Michigan St. 1-4 in games against elite teams. Again, strong profile overall, but for the 1 line, you need something more special.
UCLA: Actually has 5 such wins...and two are USC and Michigan, other 3 are elite. Better shape. But a 251 non-con SoS is basically a non-starter.
Add it all up and you see the issues. Even worse for Oregon, they'll only get 1 chance at a signature win, while both Arizona and UCLA get 2. Adding it all up, I just like Gonzaga and UNC better. Gonzaga's two best wins (Arizona and Florida) are basically comparable to the two best wins of each of these teams, and they have less marginal losses and the St Mary's and Iowa St wins on top of it! Gonzaga has a better power profile!
The lack of depth in this league has killed the 1 seed hopes of its top 3 teams. Wins over the bottom 9 have turned marginal at best.
USC better beat Washington. Can they make it by losing to UCLA? They'd really be on the edge. My instinct says....I'm not sure. I'm legit not sure. Right on the edge.
Disaster for Cal in the bracket, they have two useless games that are must win just to get to Oregon...and I'm not sure beating Oregon will be enough to improve their profile enough. They need two quality wins to make the field...and the only way to get that is to win the damned thing. Not great.
Utah's in good NIT shape...Colorado is eligible but not really in position for the NIT.