The Pac-12 Tournament kicks off on Wednesday and the Colorado Buffaloes are not playing in the first round for the first time ever since joining the conference. That’s a shame, CU fans have gotten so used to playing on Wednesdays.
But we do have some intriguing matchups on Wednesday, so we’ll be breaking those down as well.
Let’s first take a look at the conference futures courtesy of Superbook:
Oregon State 35/1
Arizona State 100/1
Washington State 100/1
I only put Colorado second because it scares me a bit that they are currently the betting favorite. It’s understandable and their national perception has been really good over the last few weeks and I think that’s why you see them as the favorite. As a Buffs fan, I’m not ready to believe that they can win this tournament.
The one that jumps out to me is Arizona State. I’ve been fading them all season so I understand why they are 100/1. But there’s still lots of talent on that team. Have they given up? Probably. But if you were able to get 100/1 odds on them before the season, you would’ve jumped all over that. A lot of people picked them to win the conference and anything can happen in March.
I also kind of like UCLA they’re not getting the respect they deserve nationally. That’s a good basketball team. If they could make free throws, they would’ve beaten USC and they’d be the 2 seed in this tournament. Should a 2 seed be getting +550 odds in the tournament? Absolutely not.
Arizona State vs. Washington State
The Sun Devils will be without star freshmen Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley for the tournament. That’s how things have gone for Bobby Hurley this season. But they still have Remy Martin, who seemed to find a rhythm late in the season. And they have pretty good guard play overall. Can their bigs hang with Washington State’s bigs? Do they have a stopper for Isaac Bonton? I think this is a fair line, it’s basically a pick ‘em. I’m taking Washington State, they’ve been the better team this season and that should continue in the tournament.
Chase Howell’s pick: Washington State +1
Washington vs. Utah
Utah played really good basketball down the stretch. Ever since that win against CU in Boulder, they turned it on. I think that gave them some much-needed confidence. Washington is a tough team to handicap. You never know what you’ll get from them. They have competed with some of the best teams in the conference but they also get blown out often. If there’s a sneaky team in this tournament, it’s Utah. They should roll in this game.
Chase Howell’s pick: Utah -7
California vs. Stanford
Arizona State and Stanford are the disappointments of the season. Those two are essentially why Colorado was picked to finish 7th this season. They have dealt with lots of injuries and I still think there’s a good team in there somewhere. It appears guards Bryce Wills and Daejon Davis will play tomorrow, that should be a huge boost for Stanford. But the big question is Oscar da Silva. He did not play in Stanford’s last game and has been dealing with a foot injury. That’s the straw that stirs the drink. To me it’s as simple as if he plays, take Stanford. If he doesn’t, fade them.
Chase Howell’s pick: TBD